“Become indispensable”: Mike Rowe delivers some of the best career advice that everyone needs to read

Glenn loves talking to Mike Rowe because they share a similar views on hard work and the belief that young adults should look at more options for further education beyond a traditional four year college.

In his Saturday “Mail Call” on Facebook the other week, Rowe gave a fan some career advice that you should share with anyone looking for a new job or just now getting started.

Parker wrote:

Hey Mike!

I’ve spent this last year trying to figure out the right career for myself and I still can’t figure out what to do. I have always been a hands on kind of guy and a go-getter. I could never be an office worker. I need change, excitement, and adventure in my life, but where the pay is steady. I grew up in construction and my first job was a restoration project. I love everything outdoors. I play music for extra money. I like trying pretty much everything, but get bored very easily. I want a career that will always keep me happy, but can allow me to have a family and get some time to travel. I figure if anyone knows jobs its you so I was wondering your thoughts on this if you ever get the time! Thank you!

Parker Hall

Mike Rowe wrote back on his Facebook page:

Hi Parker

My first thought is that you should learn to weld and move to North Dakota. The opportunities are enormous, and as a “hands-on go-getter,” you’re qualified for the work. But after reading your post a second time, it occurs to me that your qualifications are not the reason you can’t find the career you want.

I had drinks last night with a woman I know. Let’s call her Claire. Claire just turned 42. She’s cute, smart, and successful. She’s frustrated though, because she can’t find a man. I listened all evening about how difficult her search has been. About how all the “good ones” were taken. About how her other friends had found their soul-mates, and how it wasn’t fair that she had not.

“Look at me,” she said. “I take care of myself. I’ve put myself out there. Why is this so hard?”

“How about that guy at the end of the bar,” I said. “He keeps looking at you.”
“Not my type.”

“Really? How do you know?”
“I just know.”

“Have you tried a dating site?” I asked.”
“Are you kidding? I would never date someone I met online!”

“Alright. How about a change of scene? Your company has offices all over – maybe try living in another city?”
“What? Leave San Francisco? Never!”

“How about the other side of town? You know, mix it up a little. Visit different places. New museums, new bars, new theaters…?”

She looked at me like I had two heads. “Why the hell would I do that?”

Here’s the thing, Parker. Claire doesn’t really want a man. She wants the “right” man. She wants a soul-mate. Specifically, a soul-mate from her zip code. She assembled this guy in her mind years ago, and now, dammit, she’s tired of waiting!!

I didn’t tell her this, because Claire has the capacity for sudden violence. But it’s true. She complains about being alone, even though her rules have more or less guaranteed she’ll stay that way. She has built a wall between herself and her goal. A wall made of conditions and expectations. Is it possible that you’ve built a similar wall?

Consider your own words. You don’t want a career – you want the “right” career. You need “excitement” and “adventure,” but not at the expense of stability. You want lots of “change” and the “freedom to travel,” but you need the certainty of “steady pay.” You talk about being “easily bored” as though boredom is out of your control. It isn’t. Boredom is a choice. Like tardiness. Or interrupting. It’s one thing to “love the outdoors,” but you take it a step further. You vow to “never” take an office job. You talk about the needs of your family, even though that family doesn’t exist. And finally, you say the career you describe must “always” make you “happy.”

These are my thoughts. You may choose to ignore them and I wouldn’t blame you – especially after being compared to a 42 year old woman who can’t find love. But since you asked…

Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. 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. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.

Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.

Good luck -

Mike

PS. I’m serious about welding and North Dakota. Those guys are writing their own ticket.

PPS Think I should forward this to Claire?

  • Anonymous

    Spoken like a prophet. Learned long ago that it is easier to start at the bottom and work my way up than wait for the ideal. Funny, the harder I work the luckier I get.

  • http://plexusslim.com/lhagins Lisa M Hagins

    I agree with you totally Mike.. Get out of the box and your comfort zone and look around you. We are storm restoration company and we change locations every year, and getting to be around different types of people. We try to hire people and they say they can’t do that, that they have to stay local. Wake up america jobs and love don’t come to you. Venture outside the box and you will find it .I am done with my rant. WTG Mike and i think you should forward to your friend.
    Lisa

  • Elena

    Like the outdoors? Join the Marines or Army. Like an office — try the Air Force. Want to move a lot and travel — it’s the Sailor’s life for you! There are boring parts there, too.

  • Phil Wilson

    Great words. In 2002, I had a bad accident that ended a good career in industrial maintenance. I could have retired on disability, but that’s not me, so I returned to school as a 40 year old freshman and got a degree in accounting. From there, I passed the CPA exam and landed a series of jobs that eventually put me in the seat I am sitting in as an Audit Director, making high a high five figure salary. Bottom line, make like a marble and roll with it. Let your identity be about who you are, not what you do.

  • Richard Lee Norman Jr.

    “Become indispensable” requires people to accurately value your contributions. It requires a Human level of understanding about the base worth of each individual.

    Let me get to the POINT … Elitist will never allow others to be perceived as “Indispensable”.

    When one person is making 100(s) of times more than the average … your words have negative weight.

  • Chelsea Holm-Nielsen

    Good advice!

  • Anonymous

    You got that right Glenn just loves talking, period. Don’t you know he’s the only one who has it right, no matter the topic.

  • http://kohlrak.sytes.net Shane Tyler Yorks

    Mike has a nice attitude, but sometimes he’s a little out of touch with reality. Some jobs injure you, other jobs don’t pay enough, and most good jobs require experience and/or education, which you cannot get without having said job in the first place (chicken or egg issue). Everyone’s hiring, but employers for jobs that don’t harm you or pay just over minimum wage, but they’re as picky as that woman he’s describing.

  • willgtl

    No doubt, Mike got it right. No more can you go for the job you want. If you want work, you’re probably gonna have to end up taking a job that you may not have planned on. Doesn’t mean you gotta take a job you would hate, that’s bad. Or a job you’re unsure of your capacity to commit to. Take a job that you can do, not the job you want because that’s the thing, not everyone can get their dream job. Most don’t.

    There are plenty of trades that pay very nicely. You don’t gotta work at McDonald’s but you probably won’t be able to get that dream job.

  • http://kohlrak.sytes.net Shane Tyler Yorks

    To be who you are and not what you do, you are subscribing to what almost every employer is ragging on “generation Y” for. What you’re saying is inspiring, but the “do you work to live or live to work” question will always favor those who live to work. And if you live to work, you don’t live for God or anything else, which is why Glenn has such a hard time getting turnouts for special events: most people work over 40 hours a week and still live paycheck to paycheck. (Don’t misunderstand this as a minimum wage increase, as that would only worsen the situation.)

  • http://kohlrak.sytes.net Shane Tyler Yorks

    It must be really hard to work up, because everywhere i’ve been you had to have lost a good job or something just to move up at all.

  • http://kohlrak.sytes.net Shane Tyler Yorks

    Most require experience and/or higher education. Usually “and.” There are alot of jobs out there, but everyone hiring is like the woman he describes.

  • Fatga

    What I have seen of most people under 50 they all want jobs that pay $100,000 a yr. and they don’t have to do nothing. But most of these people live in what used to be a GM town. Had about 100,000 GM employees in this town at one time. What did their kids hear and see. Daddy comes home after about 4 hrs. and he gets paid for 8-10 or 12 hrs. Or he comes home drunk cause his boss wrote him up and sent him home, but the boss is wrong 6mos. later he gets paid for all the time he was off so it is alright to work while your drunk. Or daddy and buddy talking about how they can get their parts out in 3 hrs. the rest of the day they sleep, play cards or get a date with some girl. Oh, almost forgot they get paid for it too. The kids from these people are the ones in gov. elected jobs today.

  • http://kohlrak.sytes.net Shane Tyler Yorks

    Glenn’s got some stuff right, but i have a bone to pick with Mike Rowe, and i think for ethical reasons Glenn should separate himself with Mr. Rowe. I’ve tried many times to get ahold of Mr. Rowe using his clearly preferred methods in order to challenge his concepts to see if they can stand up to the reality that we’re facing around the country, and I haven’t gotten in. He hasn’t directly targeted me, however I feel that he purposely secludes himself so no one can challenge his ideas, since they are close enough to wisdom to pass as such.

  • Don’t get stuck in a rut

    Good advice for the most part, but I disagree with “taking anything”. The time for planning a career and dreaming is when you’re younger. After 20 years of working in jobs I hated, and feeling like I had too much at stake to start over on a different path, feeling obligated to “stick with it”, I’d HIGHLY recommend finding something you enjoy as well as just “taking anything”. Twenty years is a long time to weld if you hate welding. You’ve GOT to find the balance between what you like and what jobs are available. For short-term, I’d say “taking anything” is fine…but don’t get stuck there.

  • Ben

    Then give up and go on the government dole. It’s the popular thing to do these days or so I hear… And more importantly get out of the way of those of us who want better for ourselves and family. Your self entitled attitude is what keeps you back. If you can’t get that corner office than try the mail room and be the best mail person you can be. Step by step, by step. If you want it, go get it.

  • Harry Callahan

    Kinda reminds me of all these people complaining that they don’t make $15.00 an hour flipping hamburgers. Back in 1970 I was making $1.00 an hour pumping gas and changing oil. Although I only had a high school education, I knew the future for me pumping gas was pretty bleak. So, I went out and found a better job. I worked at an auto parts store for $2.00 an hour. After a year of that and knowing $2.00 an hour still wouldn’t allow me the life I wanted, I went to work in the coal mines. I became an electrician which allowed me to find a good paying job in Florida. I never complained and felt I should have gotten paid more for pumping gas or selling parts. No, I got off my rump and went looking for a better paying job.

  • NDGIRL

    For those of you that don’t know about ND oil boom. Mike is right on. A lot of people have a work there 10 year plan and then retire. The money is that good.

  • Luke Rodriguez

    Honestly, sounds like you don’t really want a job. With your attitude, I would never hire you. You have more reasons why you CAN’T work than reasons to work. Why would anyone hire a person who has a laundry list of things they refuse to do and demanding skilled pay for unskilled labor? The bottom is where you are, bottom jobs are what you are qualified for so bottom jobs is where to start. Ironically, the fact that you refuse to take a job at the bottom means that is the only opportunity you will ever afford yourself. Best of luck on welfare and food stamps….enjoy your section 8 housing…40 years from now as you survey your squandered life you can reflect back at all the people who judged you, never gave you a break and never recognized your brilliance. If anyone here is out of touch it is you and the sooner you look in the mirror and come to grips with reality, the sooner you can change your situation. Sometimes the world is wrong and you are the only person who really understands….but more often than not…the world is seeing you much more clearly than you see yourself. You are not special, you don’t yet deserve a good job and you do not have the luxury of being picky. Grow the hell up and get a job.

  • http://kohlrak.sytes.net Shane Tyler Yorks

    Entitled to what? I want a job that actually pays the bills but
    doesn’t put me on a disabled list after 10 years. Us younger people
    don’t have the opportunity to get such jobs without sucking up a huge
    college bill or serving in the military (the exception being nursing,
    but i’m seeing alot of CNAs suffering occupational hazards that are
    entirely unavoidable [back problems, foot problems, things like that]).

    I’m
    willing to work. I’d gladly work as a programmer, a construction
    worker, etc, but no one wants to hire me unless i’ve already done it
    before. How can i do it before if i’m not hired to begin with?

  • Ben

    Here is a crazy idea: ask a business to see if they are hiring programmers, construction, etc. if they don’t have openings for unskilled labor you can either (a) go get skilled at a trade school (Rowes suggestion) or internship or see if the business has a clerical or entry level position. Once you prove your not entitled little snot, then you can move to the position you want,

    A secret I learned from my father whom was in Human Resources for 35 years. Most people don’t do the job or skill they want to school for. Unless you go to nursing, engineering, carpenter, aka a professional or trade degree, isn’t expect to get just any job.

    Network, ask around. Someone will give you a chance. Well, as soon as you drop the chip of your shoulder that is….

  • http://kohlrak.sytes.net Shane Tyler Yorks

    >>Honestly, sounds like you don’t really want a job. With your attitude, I would never hire you. You have more reasons why you CAN’T work than reasons to work.

    All i ask is to pay the bills without having to go to the doctor all the time. Bonus points if i’m allowed to have a family. I want what older people could accomplish which is now infinitely harder for us younger people. I see successful older people all the time, they say such things, and i ask them how they got where they were. How? “Well, when i was your age i got lucky and had this friend that taught me this.” or something like that. Well, now those friends are dead. Everyone wants results now, without any associated risk. Everyone has to start somewhere, and i can start at a job, I can do well, i can devote my life to it just so i can pay the rent, let alone the other bills. At the end of a few years, the pay doesn’t get any better, my quality of life hasn’t improved, and I don’t have any opportunities to move up, because i don’t have experience. I go to look for a new job, but i’m told that i don’t have a degree or experience. Well how am i to do anything except unskilled labor? How do you get out of the hole?

    >>Why would anyone hire a person who has a laundry list of things they refuse to do and demanding skilled pay for unskilled labor?

    I just want to pay the bills and not worry about whether or not i’ll even be able to work anymore in a few years. At my last job, I saw over 10 people with wraps on their hands because in one week, even the new hire was diagnosed with carpal tunnel because of one bad management decision by a guy who didn’t even understand the job himself was giving orders just so production would go up. i then saw another of my coworkers with wraps on her hands, a former supervisor (she stepped down volunterily), mind you, who proceeded to tell me that the company refused to let her see the comp doctor until the new year began (this was maybe mid to late december).

    >>The bottom is where you are, bottom jobs are what you are qualified for so bottom jobs is where to start.

    which is understandable. But working environments are terrible at the bottom these days. I worked at a factory, so i’m well aware. And i’ve heard of the unions fighting with the company on whether or not we were to get christmas bonuses. The company, fortunately, won the argument so we got our christmas bonuses.

    >>Ironically, the fact that you refuse to take a job at the bottom means that is the only opportunity you will ever afford yourself. Best of luck on welfare and food stamps….enjoy your section 8 housing…40 years from now as you survey your squandered life you can reflect back at all the people who judged you, never gave you a break and never recognized your brilliance. If anyone here is out of touch it is you and the sooner you look in the mirror and come to grips with reality, the sooner you can change your situation. Sometimes the world is wrong and you are the only person who really understands….but more often than not…the world is seeing you much more clearly than you see yourself. You are not special, you don’t yet deserve a good job and you do not have the luxury of being picky. Grow the hell up and get a job.

    I’ve worked in a factory. I know what it’s like to work. I’m still working, but fortunately not in that factory, but a nursing home. I left that job because i saw people entering early retirement yet living paycheck to paycheck. I was sick of the waste product getting treated better than the workers. And how do i know it’s Rowe? Because he’s pretty much shut off ways that normal people like me can contact him and challenge his theories. Mind you, i would with much due respect, however his public forum requires registration, however there’s a system in place to keep you from ever completing it. It allows you to shoot off your mouth, claim that you have no problem with challenges and that your ideas stand up to them, but never have to worry about someone actually challenging you. If your ideas aren’t up for peer review, then you’re just another phoney selling success that can never be. This Rowe guy reminds me too much of those “get rich quick” books where a taxi driver lucks into the right customers and ends up making a successful business then selling a book about it. Only now he’s using Glenn Beck to do it.

  • Mary Brown Vaughan

    Wow Mike, Incredible advise!!!

    Yes, tell your friend, with a wall between you. LOL

  • http://kohlrak.sytes.net Shane Tyler Yorks

    >Here is a crazy idea: ask a business to see if they are hiring programmers, construction, etc.

    I did. They all want experience.

    >if they don’t have openings for unskilled labor you can either (a) go get skilled at a trade school (Rowes suggestion) or internship or see if the business has a clerical or entry level position.

    Around here, there’s CNA (which i’m considering at this point), local collages, and empire beauty school. Unless you’re one of the hundreds of nurses without a job, there’s no trade stuff available for you UNLESS you’re still in highschool. I could go on about how i wasn’t given an equal opportunity there, but at that time i could’ve always tried transferring to another school or something like that when the opportunity still existed.

    >Once you prove your not entitled little snot, then you can move to the position you want,

    I’ve proved it. I think working over a year in a factory with the worst reputation around does a good job of doing that. I’ve learned a bit of spanish just to interact with my coworkers and do my job. I’ve had my share of problems. I even got railroaded by the Social Security administration when i was too busy working to fight a case where my entitled mother cashed an SSI check in my name (she’s a welfare bum) and they came after me for it, not only giving me my “final notice” as my first notice, but denying that i tried to appeal the decision.

    >A secret I learned from my father whom was in Human Resources for 35 years. Most people don’t do the job or skill they want to school for. Unless you go to nursing, engineering, carpenter, aka a professional or trade degree, isn’t expect to get just any job.

    I wish there was more trade schools, especially near me. It’d be nice to do something without getting told i need a degree + experience which I cannot get. I’m well aware that the degree thing isn’t good right now, either, but at least that 1 peice of paper opens more opportunities that otherwise aren’t there. Not many, though, because even then they usually want experience that you just plain can’t get because no one’s willing to give it without you already having it.

    >Network, ask around. Someone will give you a chance. Well, as soon as you drop the chip of your shoulder that is….

    There is no network, unless you mean the mafia, and even they’re loosing control of the area. I will not cross the line and sell drugs to kids just to get connections. Or, another opportunity I have is that i could spend all the money i have trying to set myself up in a different area and hope i get the job i stake all my money on.

  • Ben

    Excuse, excuse, excuse. If there are no jobs where you live, MOVE! There is always work. Start a painting business. Mow yards, get off your butt and do something. You mope and whine, and that’s the reason why people won’t hire you. Im done trying to help you. Good luck in your life, with your attitude your going to need it….

  • http://kohlrak.sytes.net Shane Tyler Yorks

    >>Excuse, excuse, excuse. If there are no jobs where you live, MOVE! There is always work. Start a painting business.

    Where am I going to move to? What am I going to do if i don’t immediately get a job somewhere and i run out of cash? Then I have no safety net that i have here, nor a roof on my head. It’s easy to say move when you aren’t the one doing it, or at least you have the experience to find a new job in a new area. I have nothing to bring to the table except factory work.

    >>Mow yards, get off your butt and do something. You mope and whine, and that’s the reason why people won’t hire you. Im done trying to help you. Good luck in your life, with your attitude your going to need it….

    You fail to understand. I have a job, but it’s not paying the bills. The job I had before was injuring me. Mowing lawns won’t do anything. You had, at no point, any intention of helping me. You were upset that i challenged the notion that jobs aren’t there because people are too lazy to work, and you wanted to put me in my place because i’m obviously a young person who’s never held a job and can’t get one because i’m one of those lazy people. I’ll tell you right now that i DO work, and i HAVE worked real jobs. Sacrificing my being for the job and the better good of the company got me nowhere. It’d be really nice if reality was as ideal as our theories, but, assuming you’ve ever had a job of your own, you should know better. I expect working people like me to understand that theory and reality are two very different things.

    Does my reality hurt you so much that you have no other option than to call me something i’m clearly not? I envy you: you can afford to live in the bliss of ignorance. For those of us who aren’t old enough to, we’re stuck with our castes until people with real brains start their own businesses. I guess that’s another option, trying to start another business for a need that’s already covered and hope i can at least pay off the loan.

  • Anonymous

    Forget poor Shane. There is little hope for him right now. He wants to have a nice life without earning it. He cries about poor paying jobs. Since he is to unmotivated to get to school for SOMETHING, he should be working two jobs, or even three. He thinks networking is dealing with mafia. What kind of people does this guy hang with? I wouldn’t want him hanging around my business. He has to pay bills. What bills? Someone so poor should not have bills. That means he is unwilling to put in the work needed to improve himself. I think and hope he figures it out soon that everything he talks about is changeable by him.
    First rule of trade school, Shane: if the program is easy to get, then its not worth your time. CNA is not a good profession. It is an easy degree that takes little time to get. So lots of people take the easy road. Get into a tough program, one that few people take. That way, you have less competition for higher wages. But, you would rather live in Palookaville and wallow in self-pity. When you are ready, there is opportunity out there for you.

  • KayDeeBeau

    How exactly do you think the rest of us started? Who exactly do you think did / does those ” crippling” jobs and still do them?

    Suck it up and quit whining about how “tragic” your situation is and what you won’t or don’t want to do.

    You do what you have to do and work up to better positions.

    If after 10 years you haven’t improved your position – just like the others replying to you have suggested – the trouble is you not the circumstances around you.

  • TG Towns

    In the early 80′s the factory I worked at closed and there wasn’t much around. I couldn’t find a steady job and didn’t have money to go back to school. I decided to join the Air Force to learn electronics. I ended up staying there 11 years. Even though I ended up going a totally different direction with my career afterwards, joining the military was one of the best decisions I ever made. There are usually ways to create opportunities if you don’t limit yourself and are willing to work hard.

  • Mary Pautz Sirois

    There are not hundreds of nurses without a job. You just have to look for them and it may mean relocating. I know as I am a nurse and have also relocated to ensure a stable job.

  • Jeff

    Move to Midland, TX and work in the oil field. It’s a great town with plenty to do and even jobs at McDonald’s and subway pay better because the free market demands that they do.

  • PHS

    Anyone who is truly successful recognizes the empoyees that really stand out, the ones who show initiative and are willing to go the extra step, those who make themselves “indispensable”.

  • Brian Kight

    This is insane in the membrane. Crap big business love let sell chemically treated food . This is not gun to hunt or aquaponics harvesting fish and fresh greens THIS IS BIG BUSINESS TRYING TO POISON YOU AND TAKE YOUR MONEY

  • Bill

    Amen! The biggest problem I run into is hiring people who think in a couple years they can or will have my job, but are not willing to pay the sacrifices I’ve paid to earn my position.

  • Mattyv1908

    Shane, I’m 33 and have no college education (although I find I know more than most with degrees) so I can’t be too far removed from you demographically.
    When I was 19 I was a cover driver for UPS making $18/hr and while I enjoyed my work I constantly saw guys in their late 30′s putting knee braces on to get ready for work. I knew it wasn’t for me long term.
    I got a job selling cars. I purchased dress clothes, ties and shoes on a line of credit. My first few years I earned $40-50k. I got better, paid for seminars that helped me gain a skill set and my next few years I earned $80-90k. I got a promotion into finance and five years later I’m a finance director at one of the largest Chevrolet stores on the west coast earning north of $250k. In a few years I’ll hope to get lucky and buy into the right franchise. I both learned and taught myself a unique skill set which allows me to write my own ticket. I have no degree. My wife doesn’t work and stays home with our 4 kids. We live comfortably.
    It can be done. Best of luck
    Matt

  • PHS

    America is hung up the idea of what is a good job, i.e., computer tech., office administrator, engineer, doctor, and so on. What happened to plumbers, bakers, auto mechanics, highway workers, surveyors, linemen, electricians, truck drivers, carpenters, and all the other down and dirty jobs that are honest labor and don’t require a college degree. There was a time when young men didn’t mind getting dirty and were eager to go into the building trades and other occupations that required them to work up a sweat doing something besides shooting hoops. They didn’t mind working outside under conditions less than ideal where there is no AC or heat to keep them comfortable. America needs to get back to work, but first they need to learn what it means to work.
    Mike is right. Experience is the best teacher. Every time you try a different job you learn more about yourself and ad to your resume of experience. Make yourself “indispensable” and when promotion or lay-off time comes you will be seen as an asset worthy of promotion or retention when other are suddenly in the unemployment line. I joined the Air Force when I 18 years old, but not before trying work on the farm, a short stint in construction, and a semester of college, plus prior after school work bagging groceries, and as a cashier and cook in a local fast food place. The Air Force was the best way for me to explore a variety of different jobs. I attended a few courses at local colleges and took advantage of what ever the Air Force offered in the way of advanced technical and career education. I even worked part time as a bartender and did landscaping when the mission would allow it. I did find a job in aircraft maintenance, which I really enjoyed, and it just so happens I was good at. 18 years later I had to change career fields due to an injury. I had to take a desk job involving computers and database management, totally different from what I had done before. After I retired from service I continued my education. but financial responsibilities demanded that I enter the workforce earlier than anticipated. My physical limitations, and the lack of a thriving aircraft industry in the local area, dictated that I seek work that I was less qualified for. Fortunately my previous experience with computers coupled with a long varied work history helped me land several jobs. After 21 years in service and 25+ years performing a myriad of jobs in both the public and private sectors as well as owning my own business I have continued to explore different career paths. What I have learned is the key to any job is not so much how much it pays, but what sense of satisfaction and value I derive from doing it. How my performing the job appeals to what I perceive as being meaningful. I am about to retire, or should I say make a major career change for the second time, and have every intention of doing something I really want to do. I just don’t know what it is yet…………

  • Anonymous

    Words of wisdom from Mike Rowe!

  • Sandy Scott Dokter

    I worked for one of the “Big Bad Banks” for 11 years before I was liberated by a less-than-stellar manager. This allowed me to increase my college load to full-time and work toward the degree I want in architecture. Being in college in my 30′s has given me a chance to experience many things I would have missed when I was younger, and opened my eyes to many opportunities. I have earned membership in an honor society, and become active with SkillsUSA, helping to facilitate my school’s involvement in this year’s competitions.
    If you’re not collecting a paycheck, find something to do that you believe in and that will improve your resume. You will meet people and have experiences that will help you find a job that you can enjoy.

  • Dusty Bottoms

    My cousin in Louisiana started out as a lathe operator after high school and learned all he could, got promoted, learned some more when the computer operated lathes came out, got promoted again and again and now he’s making $150k but has to cut back because he wants to spend more time with his kids. Our generation, his and mine, in our family just couldn’t find what we were looking for in a four year college degree and I’m glad we didn’t. I’ve worked maintenance jobs, went through electronics school in a little community college and spent 15 years in computer networking jobs in public schools. I quit that job early to be what I really wanted to be, a rancher, and now I couldn’t be happier either, drought or no drought (I prefer NO drought, though). Do what you have enthusiasm for when it comes along but until then give what work you have it’s just due in terms of your required input. Be honest with your employer and yourself. Also do your best to live as close to being out of debt as possible. It’s very hard when you’re first starting out but work toward that one goal every day and you’ll sleep a lot better sooner than your peers – guaranteed!

  • Phil Cook

    Sometimes we need to swallow our pride and take what is offered in order to make ends meet.

  • http://kohlrak.sytes.net Shane Tyler Yorks

    >Shane, I’m 33 and have no college education (although I find I know more than most with degrees) so I can’t be too far removed from you demographically.

    I find myself in exception with alot of what college professors say on a alot of programming and language topics.

    >When I was 19 I was a cover driver for UPS making $18/hr and while I enjoyed my work I constantly saw guys in their late 30′s putting knee braces on to get ready for work. I knew it wasn’t for me long term.

    And i’m sure they expected it to be for you. Though i admit i see people in their 30s putting braces on all the time, so that wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me, but here we’re still on the same train.

    >I got a job selling cars. I purchased dress clothes, ties and shoes on a line of credit. My first few years I earned $40-50k. I got better, paid for seminars that helped me gain a skill set and my next few years I earned $80-90k. I got a promotion into finance and five years later I’m a finance director at one of the largest Chevrolet stores on the west coast earning north of $250k. In a few years I’ll hope to get lucky and buy into the right franchise. I both learned and taught myself a unique skill set which allows me to write my own ticket. I have no degree. My wife doesn’t work and stays home with our 4 kids. We live comfortably.

    There’s the separation, though. There’s no jobs like that i can safely reach for. And if there were, they would probably expect experience or some kind of accounting education. However, I can’t know that because there are no jobs like that available around here. Most of the jobs are medical field jobs like Ultrasound specialist, or, heck, let me grab the first few job postings.

    DIETARY AIDE/COOK
    Company: GOLDEN LIVING WILLIAM PENN
    NOTE: This is what i am right now, just at a different home. Money doesn’t pay the bills.

    Production Supervisor
    Company: First Quality
    NOTE: “…is looking for an experienced Production Supervisor who…” Obviously not entry level, either, so that’s no surprise.

    Fire Support Specialist
    Company: Army National Guard
    NOTE: Military. I would if this country wasn’t going the wrong way in a hurry. Most of my family has indeed served, and i do have some skills useful in military work.

    Electronic Assemblers
    Company: Adecco
    NOTE: Temporary (Unstable), Experience seems to be required

    International Sales Coordinator
    Company: Overhead Door
    NOTE: Experience required

    Bilingual Customer Account Representative – #658 – Burnham, PA
    Company: Rent-A-Center
    NOTE: Experience needed (and my Spanish isn’t good enough)

    >It can be done. Best of luck
    >Matt

    If the opportunities arise. I’m hoping that the local company recently bought by Japanese might end up needing a translator. They’ve made in company offers to send people to Japan to learn. I already speak japanese relatively well, but i do lack certain vocabularies. If they made that offer public, i’d take them up on it in a heart beat. I do appreciate your sentiment, though. I’m just annoyed by people like Rowe who say “just get out there and get a job” or things along those lines. It’s easy for people who have to tell those who don’t what to do.

  • http://kohlrak.sytes.net Shane Tyler Yorks

    >There are not hundreds of nurses without a job. You just have to look for them and it may mean relocating. I know as I am a nurse and have also relocated to ensure a stable job.

    Maybe a bit exaggerated for my area, but there are alot unemployed, none the less. Nursing is popular in Pennsylvania. Relocation becomes more impractical the further you have to go, because if it falls through you’ve got a problem.

  • http://kohlrak.sytes.net Shane Tyler Yorks

    >Forget poor Shane. There is little hope for him right now. He wants to have a nice life without earning it. He cries about poor paying jobs. Since he is to unmotivated to get to school for SOMETHING, he should be working two jobs, or even three.

    I already have too many hours to work 2 jobs, especially when the hours i have are not aligned to normal shifts, and the scheduling is so irregular i cannot plan ahead. No, it cannot be done in this area.

    >He thinks networking is dealing with mafia. What kind of people does this guy hang with? I wouldn’t want him hanging around my business.

    The local businesses are indeed influenced by “the good ol’ boys club.” Rumor has it that something related to this will make news, soon, but right now only small fries are covering it (this is a whole other can of worms, though).

    >He has to pay bills. What bills? Someone so poor should not have bills. That means he is unwilling to put in the work needed to improve himself. I think and hope he figures it out soon that everything he talks about is changeable by him.

    You mean go on welfare to make up for the rest of it? We have enough hogs who don’t deserve it milking the system. I know alot of them and I’m better than that.

    >First rule of trade school, Shane: if the program is easy to get, then its not worth your time. CNA is not a good profession. It is an easy degree that takes little time to get. So lots of people take the easy road. Get into a tough program, one that few people take. That way, you have less competition for higher wages. But, you would rather live in Palookaville and wallow in self-pity. When you are ready, there is opportunity out there for you.

    That’d be nice if there was one. There is no other trade within a safe distance. I don’t have any strong connections outside of this area if anything falls through. Do you live in a city to have such a wealth of trade schools, or what?

  • Anonymous

    In the early 2001 I found myself suddenly out of work. I had a good paying job and suddenly nothing. I went on unemployment. Looked for work. I wanted something local. I wanted something to support my family. 2 years went by. I went back to doing a job I did in high school. It didn’t meet my needs but it was work. It wasn’t until I accepted the fact and put aside my limits that I put on my ideal job that I was finally able to get work that would support my family. I ended up relocating. I Miss my home town but that is water under the bridge. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and move on.

  • White Army

    Since equality before the law is the only kind of equality compatible with liberty, it is the only type of equality that free countries should pursue.

  • JD Matthew

    Thank you Mike, I’m sending this to my 20 year old son

  • http://kohlrak.sytes.net Shane Tyler Yorks

    To be indispensable is to keep yourself too valuable to promote, too.

  • IdiocyAbounds

    then you have not been very many places or looked very clearly at the places you’ve been. It is more than possible today, to start at the bottom and work you way up. The key word being “work” which few today are willing to actually do

    People who make excuses for everything are actually their own worst enemy and will remain average or below, because it gives them permission to just “stay” or do nothing.

  • IdiocyAbounds

    huh?

  • IdiocyAbounds

    The point is to “work” while dreaming. Not only will you have money, but you are also gaining experience even if only at knowing what you do not want or need.

  • IdiocyAbounds

    Bonus points if I get everything handed to me without having to pay my dues, because I am either spoiled rotten, totally an idiot, or totally lazy.

    You really need to rethink everything that you believe, because it is NOT a healthy attitude for success in life.

    (but you won’t so just keep singing the same old tired song- no body will hire me anywhere, but the problem is never with me- it is always with them)

  • IdiocyAbounds

    Too bad no one pays well for “whining” as you are VERY good at that.

  • http://kohlrak.sytes.net Shane Tyler Yorks

    I have. With 1 exception, everyone i’ve personally seen actually move up on the totem pole, it was via a business degree or nursing certification. The one exception was someone who spent at a place for 15 years, got fired, then got rehired for an office position.

  • http://kohlrak.sytes.net Shane Tyler Yorks

    I find it amusing that alot of people, like you, are commenting on my character (which you have no experience with), instead of the content of my argument. This shows that you are ignorant, and that my argument bothers how you think of the world. And necroposting to do it bothers me. =p