Learning from dirty jobs
Recommended by Augie Picado
I started my professional career in a dirty job, loading trailers in 100+ degree temperatures. It was dusty, hot, hard work, and I loved it. Thirty-two years later, I have the great pleasure of leading a group of people in Mexico with whom I am able to connect with because I walked a mile in their shoes. I appreciate the work they do, and I know how important it is to our customers and how vital their contributions are in making our company successful.
Mike Rowe’s talk, “Learning from dirty jobs,” shines a spotlight on how undervalued so-called “dirty jobs” are, and how unappreciated the people are that do them. Many of these undervalued jobs actually pay very good wages, and there’s a shortage of people willing to do them. In fact, there’s a major shortage of trained trade craftsman in the United States, specifically electricians and heating and cooling technicians. Mike argues that the shortage arose in part because of high school guidance counselors who, several decades ago, started to sell every high school student on the idea that they must go to college in order to be successful.
There is ample evidence that skilled craftsmen can earn wages well above the national average. Germany, China and other countries have figured this out. Not long ago I saw a “60 Minutes” story where Apple CEO Tim Cook stated one of their reasons for moving manufacturing to China is because of the abundant supply of trained craftsman, something that’s lacking in the US. So Mike’s talk brought me full circle back to my own talk about shared production and the interconnected global manufacturing supply chain. As economist Michael Porter stated, countries should focus their economic activity on those things where they can achieve a competitive advantage. It appears that some countries have already figured out Mike’s “dirty” little secret; their competitive advantage is training craftsmen.