Thoughts on Labor Day

September 7, 2009

TED featured a set of talks about work for Labor Day.  I watched a couple of them.

One that really caught my eye was Mike Rowe talking about work.

Now I will freely admit that I lust after Mike Rowe.  He is smart and not afraid to get dirty.  And I find that SEXY!

Anyway – so Mike Rowe has a new website and a new cause of a sort.

It’s an interesting and very real issue.  No one seems to want to grow up to be a plumber or pipe-fitter or any kind of skilled crafts-person.  No one WANTS to go to trade school.  Or if they do they don’t seem to talk about it because we have been taught that it’s not impressive enough.  College is not the end all, be all answer.  No matter what my mother says.

The standard line seems to be this… Everyone should want to be rich, but no one should want to want to work too much.

Maybe this is changing.  I think it is.  I see more and more people who look around and think, ummmmm no.  I don’t want bigger, I don’t think that’s better.  I know people who want to have an impact, who want to do something that they value and have pride in.  There are still people who think they need a bigger house, more cars, and more things.  But there are also people who think that’s kind of crazy.

I read a few weeks ago that the economy has lead to a resurgence of public service / public works.  Maybe that will also lead to more people becoming interested in the trades and infrastructure type jobs.

Green is supposed to be the new kind of industry.  But the green industries and their jobs are not going to be people in offices behind computers.  I’m sure there will be those kinds of jobs but that’s not going to be the bulk of it.  Building and installing … that’s trade work.  Someone needs to do it.

But who knows.  The one thing that I think is a sign that we might have more pride in our own work and trades… is that we have started at home.  The resurgence of cooking at home, freezing, canning, and pickling is now also being seen in other practical arts.  Knitting, crocheting, sewing, gardening… let’s hope this leads to a resurgence in the trades.

The other part of this equation is that we need to value how things are made.  For so long it was about how much.  How much does it cost and how many can I have.  How many things have you bought in the last 5 years can you pass on to another generation?  Pay a little more and you won’t have to replace it.

Okay – enough ranting.

Sorry if I bored you.

It’s just that… Mike Rowe (beyond being insanely hot) is right.  We need to work.  We need to be okay with working.  We need to regain our work ethic and run with it.

Happy Labor Day



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