Mike Rowe had some harsh advice for millennial students and graduates in a recently released Prager University video. According to the former Dirty Jobs host, passion has very little to do with success. In fact, Rowe suggests that you should “never follow your passion” when it comes to looking for work.
“The dirty truth, which is just another way of saying it’s my opinion,” Rowe said to open the video, “[is] you have all been given some terrible advice. And that advice is this: follow your passion.”
Rowe takes aim specifically at hyper-successful actors, musicians, and others who often encourage people to follow their dreams in award speeches and interviews. While that may be good advice for some, Rowe argues that many dreams simply aren’t realistic.
“Look, I understand the importance of persistence, and the value of encouragement, but who tells a stranger to never give up on their dreams, without even knowing what it is they’re dreaming?” Rowe asked. “How can Lady Gaga possibly know where your passion will lead you?”
The example that Rowe provides is long-running talent competition American Idol, which was infamous for showcasing earnest performers who went on the show only to learn that they weren’t as good as they thought they were.
“If we’re talking about your hobby, by all means, let your passion lead you,” Rowe said in the video. “But when it comes to making a living it’s easy to forget the dirty truth: just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean you won’t suck at it.”
Mike Rowe warns that by following your passion, especially if your dream job is not realistic, you may miss out on other opportunities. As previously reported by Inquisitr, Rowe operates a scholarship program to help workers train for new trades and occupations.
According to Rowe, there are currently 5.8 million jobs in the United States that employers cannot fill due to a lack of training and appropriate skills. He calls this the “skill gap.”
CNN reports that the skill gap is a very real thing, and there were 5.78 million job openings in April of this year.
Part of the reason that there are so many jobs available, despite the current unemployment rate, is that many of those jobs require skills that are not available in the workforce due to a lack of training or interest.
Rowe blames the disconnect between available jobs and the jobs that many people are interested in doing on the concept of finding a “dream job” rather than settling for what is available. He also warns recent graduates that earning a degree doesn’t automatically result in finding a related job, especially if the knowledge and skills imparted by that degree are not in demand.
“And just because you’ve earned a degree in your chosen field, it doesn’t mean you’re going to find your ‘dream job.’ ” Rowe cautions. “Their imaginary existence just might keep you from exploring careers that offer a legitimate chance to perform meaningful work and develop a genuine passion for the job you already have. Because here’s another dirty truth: your happiness on the job has very little to do with the work itself.”
Rowe cites a specific example of a man he met while filming his show. The man operates a successful septic tank cleaning business. According to Rowe, the man initially entered that field simply because there were jobs available, but he eventually developed passion for the work.
The conclusion that Rowe drew from that and other experiences was that passion and success can be linked, but not in the way that many people would like.
“Your happiness on the job has very little to do with the work itself,” Rowe said. “Never follow your passion, but always bring it with you.”
Do you agree with Mike Rowe, or do you think that following your passion is actually a good way to find success in life?
[Screenshot via YouTube]