Stopped over at American Digest (which is a good thing to do each day) and watched this 20 minute video of Discovery Channel’s Mike Rowe (Dirty Jobs) talking about how biting a lamb’s testicles off brought enlightenment. It’s well worth watching – jogs the brain out of the stuff we “know” so well, we no longer think about them. And really, it’s good to review and reconsider everything, from time to time, don’t you find?
Rowe is an educated man who has managed to not stop thinking.
UPDATE II: Reader Trudy sends along a link to “Mike Rowe Works”. Helps people get a line on jobs and training. I liked Rowe before. Like him even more, now.
UPDATE II: Rowe discusses the AIG Bonus Rage with a reader:
My Dad asked me this morning what I would do if I were an AIG banker who received a big bonus in this environment. Would I return it?
I opened my mouth to say “probably,” but what came out was “hmmm…”
To be honest, (perhaps too honest,) it got me thinking. Here’s where I am.
If, as a contracted employee who signed on for the sole purpose of making money, I did everything I was supposed to do to earn a payout of $5 million dollars, I would expect to be paid. I assumed a level of risk, and preformed as asked. A deal is a deal. The only circumstance that could justify a non-payment, would be the bankruptcy of the firm. (That’s the biggest part of the risk I assumed, working in a volatile and competitive industry.) However, if the company stays in business, or is not allowed to fail, I’d absolutely expect my money. And if I got it, and was then suddenly asked to return it because the government realized it looked politically stupid and fiscally foolish for subsidizing my big fat bonus with taxpayer money, I might be inclined to say “I’m sorry, but I’m a tax-payer too. If you didn’t want to pay me what I was legally owed, you should have let the company fail. My deal was with AIG, not you.”
This “bonus rage” would not be happening in a world that respected consequences, because in that world, those companies who can not afford to pay their bills would simply fail, the way they’re supposed to. Likewise, all citizens would live the lifestyle they can afford, the way they’re supposed to. Of course, that is not the world we live in. In fact, companies like AIG have prospered exactly because so many people now live beyond their means. The hard truth is, those big bonuses were earned because AIG got rich saying “yes” to millions of people who should have been told “no.” And because we’re all connected, we all get hurt.
What a sensible man! A humble, thoughtful and adventurous one, too! (He once auditioned for the Baltimore Opera – and got in – with no musical training!) I almost wish he’d run for office. But then he would be ripped to shreds. He can probably do more for the nation as a private citizen. And what does that say about our body politic and our press?
Related: from a while back:
College is not for everyone, and you do not need a college education in order to earn a decent living and get your piece of the American Dream. To be trained in a trade is a perfectly honorable thing, and those Americans who work as electricians or plumbers or mechanics or carpenters all have the choice of becoming entrepreneurs or working for another. And none of them have to worry about their jobs being “outsourced.”
I think it’s a message that needs to be put out there and talked up, so that these same “at-risk” kids (and non-at-risk kids who don’t find 4 years of college to be an attractive idea) can look at trades and not think of them as something “lower,” or as less-desirable choices than being a lawyer (yeah, we need MORE of those), or an investment banker, or an MBA. All of those people NEED the tradesmen, and they are willing to pay top dollar for someone who knows their stuff and does a good job.
I’m not speaking from some ivory tower. I’m the daughter of a tradesman, my husband is the son of one. Three brothers eschewed college for trades and all are doing very well – one of them has become quite the real-estate investor. In our Scout troop, several leaders are tradesmen – plumbers and electricians who own their own businesses and complain that they cannot find young people to come in and apprentice and learn the work. Why? Because they look down upon the blue-collar professions, not understanding their value and worth. Why? Because for too long a “college degree” has been touted as being the be-all-and-end-all of American life, and the idea of having a craft or a trade has been pushed to the side. On television, especially in sitcoms, such professionals are invariably depicted as sloppy, loud-mouth and ignorant – they are not made to seem attractive to the young.