Mike Rowe: Should You Follow Your Passion?

hard-workMike Rowe is one of our go-to guys here on the blog. He is a great source of information on manufacturing and what’s happening in the business, and has always dreamed of following his passion as a tradesman.

He’s also one of the main public voices trying to draw attention back to the manufacturing industry and massive problem America is facing with our skills gap. Bryan Elliott of the show “Behind the Brand” a program dedicated to highlighting ‘people who make things happen,’ calls him “the hero (and defacto voice) of blue collar workers.”

And once again, Rowe is making the news, with his new show on CNN, “Somebody’s Gotta Do it.” The show actually premiers tonight on CNN at 9:00pm ET/PT, and we’ll be in front of our televisions to make sure we don’t miss it! He’ll travel around the country to feature those who do jobs that we can’t even imagine. The show is unscripted, bringing back the real element to “reality” television, and Rowe shares that “the first episode will feature him being squeezed into a wetsuit and dangled 30 feet from a Vegas theatre’s ceiling to illustrate a former stagehand’s passion for production.” Sounds good to us!

But the really interesting thing about this show is that Rowe wants every episode to be less about the particular job, and more about the person behind it. He notes that people like the woman he features running a hair museum (yes, we’re not quite sure what that entails either) are doing it for a reason. So is the reason mere eccentricity, or are they geniuses seeing the world in a different light? The documentary style format of the show leaves it up to you to decide.

And earlier this week, a Facebook comment from Rowe in response to a critical fan seems to repudiate every piece of common advice we’re told as kids about following that passion, eccentric as it may be. He says:

Like all bad advice, “Follow Your Passion” is routinely dispensed as though its wisdom were both incontrovertible and equally applicable to all. It’s not. Just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean you won’t suck at it. And just because you’re determined to improve doesn’t mean that you will. Does that mean you shouldn’t pursue a thing you’re passionate about? Of course not. The question is, for how long, and to what end?

That’s why I would never advise anyone to “follow their passion” until I understand who they are, what they want, and why they want it. Even then, I’d be cautious. Passion is too important to be without, but too fickle to be guided by. Which is why I’m more inclined to say, “Don’t Follow Your Passion, But Always Bring it With You.”

In other words, our skills gap exists because people aren’t interested in filling the millions of jobs available. It’s an interesting viewpoint, and one we’re sure that opinions will be flying hard and fast on. If there’s one thing for sure, whether or not you believe in following your passion, it’s that Rowe is one hundred percent certain that hard work is the key to success and happiness in whatever field you decide to choose.

Questions? Comments? Ideas that fly as you’re watching the show? Send us a tweet at @nebraskamfg or leave a comment in the section below!


photo credit: Phillie Casablanca via photopin cc