I've long been a big fan of TED, the site and conference with some of the most inspirational presentations by some of the most fascinating people on just about every topic imaginable. Some of them are real mind-benders, some humorous, some a combination.
A recent batch of released video presentations includes one by Mike Rowe, host of Discovery's "Dirty Jobs"… where he has gone out and actually performed over 200 of the jobs most of us really don't even want to think about. Who knew that such a guy could be so well-spoken, with a rather powerful message to make us think… about work.
Click on the video below for his twenty minute presentation, or if you're really rushed I've included some highlights below.
1:30 – He's having to castrate lambs, and decides to give the Humane Society and PETA a call to determine the "most humane" method. This supposedly less-painful method is about the polar opposite of what the rancher he's with actually practices, which he describes and then performs in vivid detail. But which is really more humane? How can we be so wrong about "common sense"?
07:00 – The testicles on his chin remind him of anagnorisis and peripetea… the dramatic turning point when you finally understand reality. Perhaps like when someone who is outsourcing to China to cut labor costs wakes up and realizes there are some other costs involved.
10:45 – People with dirty jobs are the happiest workers. "Road kill picker-uppers whistle while they work." Which brings us to…
11:00 – The old adage of "follow your dreams and passions" is hogwash. The worst advice. The real advice should be "watch where everyone is going then go the other way."
12:30 – Could OSHA be wrong with "Safety First"? Perhaps it should be "Safety Third"! (I sent that around to our company safety guys… they weren't amused)
15:00 – Society has declared war on real work. Working people are portrayed as laughable in the movies and on TV.
17:00 – Innovation without imitation is a waste of time.
18:00 – We need a PR campaign for real work. The number of plumbers and electricians goes down every year.
Lots to think about. Take the time to watch the entire twenty minute presentation, send it around, and browse around some of the other TED videos.
Andy Wagner says
That was a marvelous talk. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.
I would for a large conglomerate that has for too long put the financial side of the company ahead of the “dirty jobs” side. In the next five to ten years we’re going to retire the vast majority of our machinists and skilled trades and as one of the younger management folks in manufacturing, I’m looking a that future with a lot of anxiety.
The good news is, there are a lot folks losing jobs on Wall Street that might be interested in learning a new trade. ;)
Shawn Ryan says
What a fantastic summary of where perception and reality don’t meet in the world of work.
If only we could show this video to every high school guidance counselor I think there would be a questioning of the ‘college is the only road to success’ mantra.
When I was in my senior year long ago a good friend of mine struggled with what to do after he graduated from high school. A gifted mechanic, having rebuilt two classic cars by himself before the age of 18 he had an aptitude that failed to find a home in any classroom.
It took 4 years and two failed attempts at college before he went to work as an apprentice tool and die maker and found an outlet for his natural abilities.
We should be encouraging the use of such gifts, not convincing people they can’t be successful with a trade skill.
Thanks for a sharing, great find!