You’re probably looking at that opening paragraph and thinking I’ve lost my mind.
That’s possible I suppose.
But after watching the EG08 Talk given by Mike Rowe, the host of Discovery Channel’s hit series Dirty Jobs, I think I might have stumbled on a new idea (new to me at least) where the next generation of wealth could be created by people who do the dirty jobs that no one from civilized society wants to do.
[see video below]
Mike makes a great observation that most of society has essentially shunned the dirty jobs that make the civilized world possible. He even goes so far to say that Hollywood has turned laborers into the “300lb plumber with mondo butt crack” from where we can get our pseudo-superior laughs as we recline back in our easy chairs each night. We’ve all seen those shows where the blue collar guy is the buffoon because it’s a successfully crafted Hollywood stereotype.
To further his theory, I only need to look back to my childhood. When I was growing up, I was told it was in my best interest to go to college, get an advanced degree in something that sounds impressive, and you’ll never have to shovel horse manure from the stables (my 3x a week chore) once you get older. You’ll be well educated and paid so well that you’ll have enough money to pay some poor guy to do it for you and will never have to do manual labor again. Unless, of course, I also had a son or grandson that I could also pimp out to do my work for me.
Pretty convincing argument when you’re a 14 year old kid shoveling horse crap in winter time.
So as you can see from Mike’s talk, from an early age most of us Gen X’ers and beyond were prodded into careers where manual labor was supposed to be avoided.
Why? Did the TV really tell us to do all that? You tell me.
The trillion dollar stimulus package that will “put America back to work” is largely composed of dirty jobs. Yet it seems strange that the jobs that hardly anyone I know would want are being hyped as the type of jobs that can save our broken economy.
Let’s consider why they wouldn’t want them.
Anyone who paves a few additional lanes on the interstate will have melted boots and smell like tar for days after leaving the job site. A guy who mixes concrete on a 12 hour shift will need to rinse, lather and repeat more than once to prove to everyone he doesn’t have prematurely graying hair. How about some poor soccer mom who’s forced to work in a Nevada desert installing solar panels sweating her assets off for eight hours a day.
Doesn’t sound too glamorous does it?
So you see, as we’re talking about the jobs that can supposedly save our country from recession (depression?), finding people who want a real honest to goodness manual labor type of job will be difficult to find.
When was the last time you heard someone say that they wanted to find work as a coal miner? How about becoming a welder or an mosquito colony lab technician (my first real job in college)?
Even better, when was the last time you heard they wanted their kid to grow up and be a farmer?
So as most of us are sitting back in our cubicles pushing papers or staring at the computer screens all day long from our air conditioned office, the job market in the dirty jobs world keeps getting bigger and harder to fill. That means less competition and more chances to profit.
And for the record, the examples of the pig farmer and dairy farm owner I used to grab your attention in the opening paragraph are millionaires, or likely will be future. Both were actually featured in Dirty Jobs episodes in the past and sell products that are in high demand.
The pig farm was valued at roughly $60 million after someone made a bid on the property and the guy who shoveled cow manure manufactures biodegradable, nutrient rich flower pots from his cow poop and sells them to WalMart.
And I thought a career in medicine and biotechnology was the way to go.
Photo by mulsanne