Thursday, July 10, 2014

I still love Mike Rowe

Dirty Jobs may have ended its run (but Animal Planet sometimes shows re-runs, especially of the animal-oriented episodes) and Mike Rowe seems to have moved on to other things.

Kind of awesome things. He's promoting the idea that instead of getting a four-year degree in some subject that it will be hard to find a job in come graduation, that a lot of America's young men and women should look towards a more technical education, or a skills education. Or at the very least, be willing to get their hands dirty, to do jobs some might say was "beneath" them, to do hard work and to do honest work.

He's written a whole thing, called the SWEAT pledge ("skills and work ethic aren't taboo") and the idea is, he's helping to fund a scholarship for people willing to take this pledge.

(Frankly, if I had a kid, unless s/he was absolutely driven to a particular field, like I was with biology, I'd strongly suggest they become a mechanic, plumber, or electrician. Good honest steady work, work that can't be outsourced, work where very often, if your boss is an idiot, you can pick up and move to another employer - or become your OWN boss.)

Anyway, here's the pledge, it's one of those things that has gone viral:


(Skill & Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo)

1. I believe that I have won the greatest lottery of all time. I am alive. I walk the Earth. I live in America. Above all things, I am grateful.
2. I believe that I am entitled to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nothing more. I also understand that “happiness” and the “pursuit of happiness” are not the same thing.
3. I believe there is no such thing as a “bad job.” I believe that all jobs are opportunities, and it’s up to me to make the best of them.
4. I do not “follow my passion.” I bring it with me. I believe that any job can be done with passion and enthusiasm.
5. I deplore debt, and do all I can to avoid it. I would rather live in a tent and eat beans than borrow money to pay for a lifestyle I can’t afford.
6. I believe that my safety is my responsibility. I understand that being in “compliance” does not necessarily mean I’m out of danger.
 7. I believe the best way to distinguish myself at work is to show up early, stay late, and cheerfully volunteer for every crappy task there is.
8. I believe the most annoying sounds in the world are whining and complaining. I will never make them. If I am unhappy in my work, I will either find a new job, or find a way to be happy.
9. I believe that my education is my responsibility, and absolutely critical to my success. I am resolved to learn as much as I can from whatever source is available to me. I will never stop learning, and understand that library cards are free.
10. I believe that I am a product of my choices – not my circumstances. I will never blame anyone for my shortcomings or the challenges I face. And I will never accept the credit for something I didn’t do.
11. I understand the world is not fair, and I’m OK with that. I do not resent the success of others.
12. I believe that all people are created equal. I also believe that all people make choices. Some choose to be lazy. Some choose to sleep in. I choose to work my butt off.

I love the whole thing but I especially love #1 - because I see far too many people who feel like they're "victims" of some kind when really, they just hit a rough patch but they have giant opportunity. And it's kind of uncool right now to say you are grateful to live in America, but I'm totally okay with being uncool: I am grateful, incredibly grateful, to live here. Yes, we have some problems but we still have great opportunity and still have great freedom.

I also love #4. I have days when I'm not "feelin' it" when I gear up to walk into the classroom so I do what I can to MAKE myself feel it. Also, by bringing your passion with you,  instead of "following" it, you can better deal with whatever changes or reverses you have in life. I got a gig in a state I had never visited before I interviewed here. In a lot of ways the culture is different from what I was used to. But I wanted the job, I recognized it was a good deal, so I made it work. Again, it's not perfect, there are always problems, but on balance I see things as being far, far better than they COULD be.

The whole theme of the pledge is "taking responsibility for myself" and I think we need more of that right now in this nation. I would love to see people start pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, stuff getting better economically, us electing some politicians who take the Constitution more seriously, and everything getting better and better. I think it will take individual citizens choosing to be this way, though, rather than anything that comes out of Washington DC or anywhere. 

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