Thursday, August 22, 2013

Jobs, The Economy, and Hard Work

There's a lot of talk these days about jobs and the economy. One of the common talking points we hear is that there are jobs that people don't want to do. Steve Kloosterman waded into this issue with a column entitled Are Bad Jobs Good for the Economy and People Who Work Them? Because the article was accompanied by a picture of Mike Rowe (who happens to know a thing or two about jobs - both good and bad) it caught his attention and prompted a fantastic takedown of  the article and a wonderful treatise on hard work. After taking the article point by point he summarizes the problem of our attitude towards jobs with this statement:

There’s a trillion dollars of college debt on the books, and we’re still pushing a four-year degree like it’s some sort of golden ticket. Dozens of states are facing massive shortages in the skilled trades, but we still talk about trade schools as “alternatives for the academically challenged.” And now, with record high unemployment and Detroit flat broke, you want to focus on the problem of ...“bad jobs?” Can you imagine our grandparents bemoaning the existence of “unpleasant” work? Can you imagine the greatest generation agreeing that some jobs were just “not worth having?”
Look, I don’t want to sound like the cranky neighbor on the front porch, screaming at the kids to get off his lawn....But come on -- 12 million people are looking for work and 3 million jobs can’t be filled? How come nobody is asking questions about that? Why is no one taking a poll on whether our expectations have replaced our common sense? Why do we talk only of “job-creation,” when we can’t even fill the jobs we have?
On Dirty Jobs, I met hundreds of men and women who found success and happiness by doing the “unpleasant" thing. I remember a guy in Washington whose first job was cleaning the grease trap in a Mexican restaurant. He moved on to washing dishes and then waiting tables. Today, he owns the restaurant, and six more just like it. I'd like to read more stories about people like that, and I bet I'm not alone.
Take the time to read it all.

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