Mike Rowe Gets It

Even as unemployment remains sky high, a whole category of vital occupations has fallen out of favor, and companies struggle to find workers with the necessary skills. The causes seem clear. We have embraced a ridiculously narrow view of education. Any kind of training or study that does not come with a four-year degree is now deemed “alternative.” Many viable careers once aspired to are now seen as “vocational consolation prizes,” and many of the jobs this current administration has tried to “create” over the last four years are the same jobs that parents and teachers actively discourage kids from pursuing. (I always thought there something ill-fated about the promise of three million “shovel ready jobs” made to a society that no longer encourages people to pick up a shovel.)

Go read it all.

Advanced education is a great thing, but it is not better than being skilled at a trade.  Not that there is anything wrong with having a PhD in Philosophy, but honestly in an end of the world scenario, that skill set isn’t going to impress me much.  Sorry.  Skilled labor makes thing happen.  When a plumber finishes his day, there is hard evidence of his work.  Me? I work in accounting.  Sure, my job is important to keep the company rolling, but there isn’t any hard evidence of what I did for the day.  Balance this, JE that, generate a work paper.  Next month I’ll do it all over again.  At the end of the year, I’ll gather a bunch of paperwork and hand it off to auditors.  TEOTWAWKI? Nobody will care about balance sheets and P&Ls. Thankfully, that’s not my only skill set.

Encourage your children to make the world a better place.  They aren’t settling if they choose to be a plumber.  If my toilet won’t flush, a plumber is far more welcome in my house than an attorney. Without pig farmers, we wouldn’t have bacon.  Tell me that’s a world you’d want to live in.

10 thoughts on “Mike Rowe Gets It”

  1. I never understood what was meant by “shovel-ready jobs”…. As I saw it, the stuff that was paid for by the stimulus packages were all wish-list projects, short-term stuff. For example, in our area, signs were put up proclaiming stimulus-paid-for intersection improvements – which amounted to some textured concrete and slightly-improved walk signals – many of which were put in where there weren’t even any sidewalks. Sure, some people were employed – temporarily. But none of that was anything like a long-term, real job that someone could plan a life around.

  2. For some reason, I just got a cold chill. A really cold chill. But, other than that last sentence or two, this is spot-on. In a SHTF scenario, nobody’s going to need their hard drives cleaned up or a laptop screen replaced. But I also have some fairly decent handyman skills, prefer to do my own home repairs as much as possible. Call it pride, but I love looking at a finished project and knowing that I did it. Yeah, you can look at that project and definitely tell that I did it (I’m not a master anything….well….there was this time at band camp….no, I’m not gonna go there!), but it works. And as long as a code inspector doesn’t take a look at the house, we’re good! LOL The sad thing is, nobody seems to want to do the manual hands-on jobs anymore. Too easy to sit back and hire someone else. Heck, I had to fold some paper airplanes for a kid at choir practice one night, he (9, 10?) didn’t even know how to make a decent plane! Sad. Really, really sad.
    RabidAlien´s last blog post ..Grandparent:Update

  3. You should look up the TED talk he gave on this subject.

    There’s also a video on YouTube (or there was) of him giving a very similar speech to a congressional committee.

  4. I was a union Journeyman Carpenter before I was too injured to work, as a carpenter. In my local the apprentice program is 6,000 hours of classroom and on-the-job training. How does that stack up against other professions? I was very proud to get through the program. Many, many people didn’t. One of my classmates died on the job and another lost nine of his fingers. Building things is hard work and not for stupid people.

    1. Oh, by the way? The secure front door (frame) to your and everybody’s house is only held in place by 4 to 8 nails. The things you learn when you’re a carpenter.

  5. In a TEOTWAWKI event, the guy with a PhD in Philosophy will be cultivating loyalty in the minds of the weak-willed…
    He’s the guy you need to worry about trying to raise an army and “help” everyone to “find” the path to the “right” way of thinking…

    I so desperately wanna be that guy!!

  6. I have a PhD in history. I made a lot more $$ when I was flying cargo and charters. A trained carpenter or plumber makes more than I do and has a lot easier time finding work. And I challenge anyone to find a blue collar worker or white collar worker who gets paid more per hour than the guy who empties septic tanks. Civilization depends a lot more on sanitation than it depends on having large numbers of PhDs.

    1. Here’s some reality, Local 1281 where I worked from has the 3rd highest Union wage in the country. $29.80/hr. If a carpenter works 2000 hours a year that’s about $59,600. All the other junk in the contract adds another $20,000 or so-none of which I ever saw! In eighteen years of being a union carpenter, the best year I had was 1500 hours. Construction is a very up and down industry, but I had fun as I didn’t have a family to support.

  7. My family has been in Stevedoring and Warehousing for generations. As a teen, my father put me to work in the warehouses, ensuring that I knew how to operate heavy equipment. Later, I supervised the warehouses for two years, right up until the violence in Mexico cut our business by 60%.
    When the economy went to hell, I struggled fir a long time. My bachelor’s degree and boarding school education have proved worthless. The only reason I am still not digging ditches as day lobor (I did god 26 months) is because I can operate massive equipment, am willing to use a shovel and gave a good work ethic. Though my hourly wage is 25% less than it was four years ago, my gross income is only down 5% because I put in the hours. If only food, fuel and energy costs were the same as four years ago!

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