Mike Rowe, the 52-year-old host of Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs series — who until recently doubled as a pitch man for Ford Trucks — has done about every crappy job there is, or so it must seem. So it's probably not too surprising when he gets fan letters asking him for career advice, or help finding a job.
But one recent fan letter clearly touched a nerve with Rowe, because it inspired him to pen a 700-word reply — then post it on his own "Real Mike Rowe" Facebook page for all of his 758,000 followers to see. And it proved that Mike Rowe is not just an all-around handyman, he's pretty handy when it comes to dispensing life advice as well — though the advice in the Mike Rowe letter may not have been exactly what the fan wanted to hear.
If you want to read the whole thing, follow the link above to Rowe's Facebook. We'll just give you the best parts.
The correspondent, Parker Hall, wrote to Rowe saying, "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." He describes himself as "a hands on kind of guy and a go-getter" who "could never be an office worker."
"I need change, excitement, and adventure in my life, but where the pay is steady," he says. "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."Rowe's reply?
"You should learn to weld and move to North Dakota," he writes. "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."
Rowe then compares the fan to a female friend in her 40s, "Claire," who constantly complains about her lack of success in finding the "right" man. But when Rowe quizzes her about whether she is willing to relocate, or search online dating sites, or even just chat with the guy at the end of the bar who's clearly interested — she answers "no" to all of the above.
"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," writes Rowe to his fan. "Is it possible that you've built a similar wall?"
He notes that the man does not simply 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."
You can see where Mike Rowe is going with this, right?
"Don't waste another year looking for a career that doesn't exist," he counsels. "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."Finally, Rowe advises, "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."
But before signing off, Rowe has a P.S. for Parker Hall.
"I'm serious about welding and North Dakota," he says. "Those guys are writing their own ticket."
How do you feel about this Mike Rowe life advice? Just a well-off TV star talking down to a fan? Or are these words to live, and look for a job, by?