Mike Rowe is famous for his role on Discovery Channel’s ‘Dirty Jobs,’ where he explores the nation’s dirtiest and most tedious vocations. He has also become solicited as a mentor by many fans who are trying to find a career that suits them best. Rowe responded to one of these fans giving him some help on finding the right job, but the surprising response was probably not what the fan was asking for.
“Learn to weld and move to North Dakota,” was Rowe’s initial advice in his response to Parker Hall, a fan who wrote to the Dirty Jobs star asking how he could find a career that met his stipulations for a job that was outside, adventurous – with steady pay, but would allow a family and time to travel – something that would never land him in an office, keep him happy and never bored… but upon a second glance, Rowe had more to offer.
He went on to compare the fan with an anonymous acquaintance, which he calls Claire, with whom he recently shared a conversation about her incapability to find ‘the right man.’ Through the conversation Rowe explains that her failure to find love is due to “a wall of conditions and expectations,” a set of preconceptions she has built in her mind of ‘the right man.’ And by refusing to deviate from these preconceptions she has ultimately sealed her own fate of loneliness.
Rowe cast Hall into the same situation, he advised the fan to do away with notions of the perfect career. He urged him to start looking and get a job – any job – work hard, and go from there.
“Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensible. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist.”
He added to not waste time looking for happiness in a job, that happiness comes from knowing true values and living a lifestyle according to them. Rowe describes that in his role on Dirty Jobs he learned that people are in charge of their own happiness, stating, “What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.”
Ending the letter, Rowe wished Hall good luck and said that he was serious about the welding in North Dakota, and wondered if he should forward the response to Claire.
In a time where over 10 million people are unemployed in the United States searching for work – some more than others – and each year over a million bright-eyed young people are graduating college with bachelors degrees and dreams of the world in front of them, Rowe’s inspirational words should come as revelation.
Some may find their dream job that they have planned their whole life around when they step down off the podium after graduation. Some may spend months or years of their life searching for it, while others will trail off down completely opposite paths.
Whether it be the college grad who got offered a job in New York City the summer after graduation, or the septic tank technician in Wisconsin who may not have gone to college, ‘life is what you make of it.’ While the fan that asked Rowe’s help on finding a job may have been a bit surprised by his response, the rousing message within will surely be something to think about.
Opinion by Cody Long