Mike Rowe Talks Work Ethic With Kirk Cameron: ‘Shortcuts Lead To Long Delays’

Photo from Mike Rowe’s Instagram

Mike Rowe Talks Work Ethic With Kirk Cameron: ‘Shortcuts Lead To Long Delays’

By Movieguide® Staff

Mike Rowe shared his passion for work ethic and said that there needs to be a change in how Americans, specifically young people, view work.

The DIRTY JOBS star said that while he highlights America’s hardest skilled laborers, he feels like he stumbled upon his entertainment career.

“I’ve never really looked at my career as work,” Rowe told Kirk Cameron on the TAKEAWAYS show. “DIRTY JOBS came to me late in life. It was 20 years ago actually, I was 40 and that show snuck on the air. Nobody thought it would work, nobody really wanted it to work to be honest. It was just a very different kind of program. There was no writing, there was no casting, there was no pre-production, we never did a second take but what we did was present a really honest look at a day in the life of a welder or a golf ball retrieval expert or a bridge builder.

“I kind of Forrest Gumped my way into a different kind of show 20 years ago when I realized that the country just was starving to have a conversation about the the dignity of work the definition of a good job, the willingness to get dirty and the success that often is hidden beyond a veneer of grime or slime or mud or something much worse,” he added.

Through the success of DIRTY JOBS, Rowe created Microworks, which offers scholarships for young people to learn trade skills.

“The best thing that came out of DIRTY JOBS back in 2008 was a foundation called Microworks and I started it mostly as a PR campaign for a couple million good jobs that were out there that nobody seemed to want,” Rowe explained.” Typically jobs that didn’t require a four-year degree but rather the mastery of a skill. The more I began to talk about those opportunities the more it became clear that what was really required was not certification, it was not a diploma, it was not a degree, it was not some sort of proof from the Ivy League. It was truly a willingness to show up early, stay late, and master a skill that was in demand.”

“Your happiness, your job satisfaction, the fulfillment of your dream, all that stuff would come later,” he added. “It was this idea of starting with the opportunity, figuring out how to get good at it, and then figuring out how to love it.

“It’s very difficult to look into a person’s soul and determine if they have an ethic for work, but I can tell you if their attitude is decent, if they understand the basics of delayed gratification, and if they use words like personal responsibility and accountability, that separates them immediately from the masses.”

Rowe said that he believes the adage, “Work smarter, not harder,” is detrimental to how people view work.

“Most good advice that turns into conventional wisdom eventually collapses under its own weight,” Rowe said. “That’s the problem with so much of what happens in our society today in my view. We wind up making a case for one thing at the expense of another thing. Hard work is never the enemy. Hard work is not a bad thing. If you can work in a way that’s more efficient and more effective that’s a good thing but not at the expense of working hard.”

“What we want today in our workforce and for our neighbors, are people who work smart and hard,” he added.

Rowe also encouraged listeners to pursue personal responsibility for success and finances.

“The biggest line between who we are is who we were as children and who we are as adults,” he said. “At some point you simply can’t be taken care of. I just don’t believe part of being a grown-up is looking for the government to become our parent. Our government has a lot of responsibilities and part of those responsibilities is putting policies in place that discourage poverty and encourage ambition. I don’t know that simply paying people to do nothing is going to accomplish either of those things.”

“I do believe in my bones that shortcuts lead to long delays and in the end we all want to be contributing, we all want to move the needle, we all want to be seen as essential because we want to be essential.”