Dirty Jobs Make our Lives Better

by Marilou Moursund on September 26, 2012

in Employment,manufacturing,Recommended Reading

Mike Rowe, the host of the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs, wrote an open letter to Mitt Romney a couple of months ago.  He is a impassioned advocate of skilled labor, and as you can see from the linked letter, he feels that many Americans are dismissive of this type of hard work.  I have noted this trend as well in the condescending way that coastal elites speak of flyover states.  Where do they think that their energy, New York strip steaks, pork bellies, and edamame comes from?  From the linked letter:

In each case, I shared my theory that most of these “problems” were in fact symptoms of something more fundamental – a change in the way Americans viewed hard work and skilled labor. That’s the essence of what I’ve heard from the hundreds of men and women I’ve worked with on Dirty Jobs. Pig farmers, electricians, plumbers, bridge painters, jam makers, blacksmiths, brewers, coal miners, carpenters, crab fisherman, oil drillers…they all tell me the same thing over and over, again and again – our country has become emotionally disconnected from an essential part of our workforce.  We are no longer impressed with cheap electricity, paved roads, and indoor plumbing. We take our infrastructure for granted, and the people who build it.
Today, we can see the consequences of this disconnect in any number of areas, but none is more obvious than the growing skills gap. 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 was 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.)



Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: