Mike Rowe (@mikeroweworks) of Dirty Jobs and The Way I Heard It podcast (and book) fame joins us to talk about the skills gap, The mikeroweWORKS Foundation, authenticity, and life experiences possible outside the comfort zone. Just don’t tell him he’s following his passion. [Note: This is a previously broadcast episode from the vault that we felt deserved a fresh pass through your earholes!]
What We Discuss with Mike Rowe:
- Did you know Mike Rowe started his show business career in opera — to get women?
- What are Anagnorisis and Peripeteia?
- Discover how Mike broke a pattern of commodity hosting by approaching the profession as a tradesman.
- Bromide busting and the problems with conventional wisdom.
- Why finding and filling a niche may ultimately be better than chasing what you think is your dream job.
- And much more…
Like this show? Please leave us a review here — even one sentence helps! Consider including your Twitter handle so we can thank you personally!
Mike Rowe has seen some stuff. Most recognized from Dirty Jobs, the Discovery Channel show he conceived and hosted for seven years, he’s waded waist-deep in human sewage, replaced hardware on bridges at dizzying heights, castrated lambs with his teeth, and everything in between.
Unlike traditional documentary hosts who might narrate what you’re seeing on the screen from the safety of the sidelines or a cozy studio in Burbank, Mike’s style is far closer and more personal than many of us might care to get. He immerses himself in the thick of it for the full experience, comfort zones be damned.
Listen to this episode in its entirety to learn more about what word Mike hopes this interview will help reintroduce into the popular lexicon, how Mike may have once violated the Prime Directive with a Sony Walkman and a Soundgarden album, the power of euphemism, how sewer workers once saved Mike’s dignity, what the mikeroweWORKS Foundation is doing to educate and eliminate unemployment, and lots more. Listen, learn, and enjoy! [Note: This is a previously broadcast episode from the vault that we felt deserved a fresh pass through your earholes!]
Please Scroll Down for Featured Resources and Transcript!
Please note that some of the links on this page (books, movies, music, etc.) lead to affiliate programs for which The Jordan Harbinger Show receives compensation. It’s just one of the ways we keep the lights on around here. Thank you for your support!
Sign up for Six-Minute Networking — our free networking and relationship development mini course — at jordanharbinger.com/course!
This Episode Is Sponsored By:
- GiveDirectly: Visit givedirectly.org/jordan and your first gift will be matched up to $1,000
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- Chinet: Visit mychinet.com to find out more
Miss the other show we did with Mike Rowe — the Dirty Jobs host working to close the skills gap in the US? Catch up here with episode 264: Mike Rowe | The Way I Heard It!
Thanks, Mike Rowe!
If you enjoyed this session with Mike Rowe, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
And if you want us to answer your questions on one of our upcoming weekly Feedback Friday episodes, drop us a line at email@example.com.
Resources from This Episode:
- The Way I Heard It Podcast
- The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe | Amazon
- Mike Rowe | The Way I Heard It | The Jordan Harbinger Show
- The mikeroweWORKS Foundation
- Somebody’s Gotta Do It
- Dirty Jobs | Discovery
- Mike Rowe | Website
- Mike Rowe | Facebook
- Mike Rowe | Twitter
- That Fleet Week Letter and Mike’s Response | Facebook
- Superunknown by Soundgarden | Amazon
- Mike Rowe: Learning from Dirty Jobs | TED Talks
603: Mike Rowe | Dirty Jobs and Peripatetic Moments
[00:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Coming up next on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[00:00:03] Mike Rowe: This idea that the job of your dreams, the idea that it even exists, is fascinating. The idea that it exists at a pay rate that will satisfy your lifestyle is doubly fascinating. And the idea that it will exist at a pay rate that satisfies your lifestyle in your current ZIP code is the height of madness.
[00:00:28] Jordan Harbinger: Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan Harbinger. On The Jordan Harbinger Show, we decode the stories, secrets, and skills of the world's most fascinating people. We have in-depth conversations with people at the top of their game, astronauts and entrepreneurs, spies and psychologists, even the occasional journalist turned poker champion, Russian spy, or economic hitman. Each episode turns our guests' wisdom into practical advice that you can use to build a deeper understanding of how the world works and become a better critical thinker.
[00:00:55] If you're new to the show, or you want to tell your friends about the show, we have episode starter packs. These are collections of favorite episodes organized by popular topic to help new listeners get a taste of everything we do here on the show, just visit jordanharbinger.com/start to get started or to help somebody else get started. Of course, I always appreciate it when you do that.
[00:01:13] Today, one from the vault with Mike Rowe, I've watched and read just about everything that he's created. He started in the opera, believe it or not, to get more popular with the opposite sex, and that was kind of a back door for him to get a SAG card, Screen Actors Guild card, make a little bit of money. When I think ladies' man, I think falsetto in a Viking hat, I don't know about you. Later, he spent time on the Home Shopping network and made fun of the products during the late shift, which doesn't get you very far in that industry. He's also done just many, so many interesting things on television and beyond.
[00:01:43] And one of the central tenets of this show, as you all know, no advice may be given unless that person has direct or nearly direct experience with the same or similar situation. One of the reasons why I admire Mike so much is because he's getting the experience the whole time. I mean, you've seen Dirty Jobs, right? It's not a documentary where he's filming other poor schlubs doing something he'd never subject himself to. He's knee deep in it, sometimes literally. And I think there's a lot here.
[00:02:05] If you're wondering how I managed to book all these great authors, thinkers, and creators every single week, it's because of my network. And I'm teaching you how to build your network for free over at jordanharbinger.com/course. By the way, most of the guests on the show subscribe and contribute to the course. Come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong.
[00:02:21] Now, here's Mike Rowe.
[00:02:26] My dad, when he found out that I was going to interview you, he said, "You know what you should do, is wear some dirty clothes because you're interviewing the guy from Dirty Jobs," and I thought—
[00:02:35] Mike Rowe: Dad, come on, man.
[00:02:37] Jordan Harbinger: That was the last straw.
[00:02:38] Mike Rowe: It was a bit too on the nose.
[00:02:39] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. It was a little bit much. He's a Ford guy, by the way. He wanted to make sure that you're still driving that truck. They gave you for—
[00:02:44] Mike Rowe: It's 11 years old now.
[00:02:46] Jordan Harbinger: Is it really?
[00:02:47] Mike Rowe: Yeah.
[00:02:47] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, okay. I thought it was—
[00:02:47] Mike Rowe: I got it. It's parked right downstairs.
[00:02:49] Jordan Harbinger: Oh no kidding.
[00:02:49] Mike Rowe: I've never in my life bought a new car. Ever.
[00:02:54] Jordan Harbinger: Really?
[00:02:54] Mike Rowe: And I haven't purchased a piece of clothing, probably at least 15 years, maybe more.
[00:03:00] Jordan Harbinger: Because you keep getting things for free or because—
[00:03:03] Mike Rowe: No, I steal. I steal them.
[00:03:04] Jordan Harbinger: You just like shoplifting?
[00:03:05] Mike Rowe: No, I would never do that, but there's sort of this unspoken thing on a — like on a commercial shoot. They bring in wardrobe and nobody knows what you're going to wear, but I always wear the same crap. You know, I put it on, and they bring alternatives and everything else. And at the end of it, I just take them and they don't care.
[00:03:19] Jordan Harbinger: They don't care.
[00:03:19] Mike Rowe: No, they're so happy we had a good day. "You know, keep the clothes." So that's why I'm almost always dressed in an outfit that millions of people who've seen me in, almost always. And it's weird.
[00:03:31] Jordan Harbinger: That's why you're so recognizable.
[00:03:33] Mike Rowe: It's part of it.
[00:03:33] Jordan Harbinger: You're wearing the same thing.
[00:03:34] Mike Rowe: I went without the hat today though, which is a bold departure, I think, for me.
[00:03:39] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:03:39] Mike Rowe: Tell me about your podcast. What is this?
[00:03:41] Jordan Harbinger: When the show first started, it was about taking off the social mask, the representative that everyone meets when you first put yourself out there. And when I was in law school, it was like, "Yo, in order to get a job, what you need to do is this, this, this, this, and this in the interview." And I thought, "Wait, isn't that not going to work when I'm spending 25 hours a day with every single person in this office?"
[00:03:59] Mike Rowe: Right.
[00:04:00] Jordan Harbinger: They're going to figure out pretty quick that me coming in dressed in a certain way, speaking a certain way with perfect eye contact and a firm handshake, only lasted 40 minutes on a good day.
[00:04:10] Mike Rowe: It just proves you read the manual.
[00:04:12] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, which is maybe what they want when you're becoming an attorney.
[00:04:15] Mike Rowe: Yeah. Protocol.
[00:04:15] Jordan Harbinger: But not good for spending time in airport lounges with other people who are equally miserable.
[00:04:20] Mike Rowe: No, but therein lies the dichotomy. This idea that if you're in compliance, then you're in good graces. It's sort of like with OSHA, with safety. The idea that if you're in compliance, you're out of danger.
[00:04:32] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:04:33] Mike Rowe: It's fundamentally specious. It's not true.
[00:04:36] Jordan Harbinger: That organization must have multiple issues with what you've done over the past few years, I would imagine.
[00:04:42] Mike Rowe: We inspired what I called an army of angry acronyms, left in the wake of Dirty Jobs. I mean, OSHA certainly fired off more than a few strongly worded memos. The EPA was constantly at high alert, angry. PETA was probably the biggest source of congenital predictable rage. Humane Society was right there. Even the FBI, I heard from the FBI on a couple occasions.
[00:05:08] Jordan Harbinger: What did they want?
[00:05:09] Mike Rowe: Eh, it was a crime scene cleanup thing and I just heard some things — see the thing is today, as you know, the interwebs, they're populated almost entirely by correctors. The world is standing by now to tell you that you got it wrong.
[00:05:23] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:05:23] Mike Rowe: And thanks to our devices, we can immediately find proof that we're right and the other person is wrong. Of course, they can find proof too, because there's no end, right? There's just no end to the sources that can gainsay the other source. And so we've just become this extraordinarily pedantic people. And I think we've confused noise and sound and argument with conversation and communication.
[00:05:51] Jordan Harbinger: At first, it was like, "Wow, this Mike Rowe guy's really funny." And then it was like, "Wow, his fans are," including us, "even more ridiculous at some points." I mean, the letter you got from Fleet Week that was like, "It's just annoying. I can't see the water on this day." And it's like, "Because there's a battleship in front of you full of veterans who just came back from a war zone. Sorry."
[00:06:08] Mike Rowe: Yeah, you know, we just kind of risking our life for you.
[00:06:10] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:06:11] Mike Rowe: You know that's all. I know it must be very annoying, very distracting.
[00:06:13] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:06:14] Mike Rowe: Messing up your view.
[00:06:15] Jordan Harbinger: Sorry your dog gets scared when they do flyovers in fighter jets from pilots that have been getting shot at.
[00:06:19] Mike Rowe: Oh god people.
[00:06:20] Jordan Harbinger: It's just unbelievable.
[00:06:21] Mike Rowe: You just love them. I mean, it's enough to make you crazy, but the truth is you have to keep reminding yourself. If everybody saw it your way, I mean, really, whether it's politics or social or whatever it is, if everybody agreed on everything, why get out of bed.
[00:06:36] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. Yeah. I mean, we'd be in North Korea, so—
[00:06:38] Mike Rowe: Basically.
[00:06:38] Jordan Harbinger: —you'd have to get out of bed for other reasons. If you had a bed.
[00:06:41] Mike Rowe: And it's cold up there.
[00:06:42] Jordan Harbinger: It is.
[00:06:42] Mike Rowe: And they all talk different.
[00:06:44] Jordan Harbinger: They do. They talk different. That part is definitely true.
[00:06:49] Mike Rowe: Have you been in North Korea?
[00:06:49] Jordan Harbinger: I have been there four times.
[00:06:52] Mike Rowe: Why?
[00:06:52] Jordan Harbinger: First time I went, because I thought, "This place is weird. I got to go check it out." This was almost 10 years ago. The second time I went was because I talked about it on this show that we're doing right now. And people said, "Wait a minute, you can go check that place out." And I said, "Yeah, I can — we can go on tours and you can see it for yourself." So I brought a group of show fans and friends with me to North Korea. We talked about that on the show as well. And then that filled up another trip and then another trip. But when I go there, I bring people to talk and see the culture and engage with the people. Because as you might imagine, there's a lot of normal people there that live in a regime that they know at some level is not working out for them—
[00:07:25] Mike Rowe: Yeah.
[00:07:26] Jordan Harbinger: —at every single level. When you go there, they ask for things like, "Hey, that camera that you're using, how does it work?" And you're explaining to them things like iPads, cameras, phones. They're looking at videos and they can't believe it. And they've heard of Facebook, but they've never seen it. And every time we go there, the guides will say, "Do you have any games on this?" Because they maybe never played one. And so they'll sit there and play all day.
[00:07:47] Mike Rowe: You know, I used to read all the time, like back in the '20s and '30s accounts of civilizations or tribes being discovered, you know, who had never seen anything post industrial revolution. And obviously, it's harder and harder to find that today. But I remember like 15 years ago, I was hiking from Cusco to Machu Picchu.
[00:08:06] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, my dad did that.
[00:08:07] Mike Rowe: It was a great hike. We were headed up to Titicaca, but along the way we took this side hike. You know, we hired some, they're not sherpas over there, but we just hired some help. We have a ton of gear—
[00:08:17] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:08:18] Mike Rowe: We were lazy and we were just slamming it. These kids humped our crap for about four and a half days. And they were just amazing. I mean, they would run — they would sleep in. Like, we'd start around seven, they'd get up around 10 and pass us around 10:30 or 11, and then make our lunch by the time we got there.
[00:08:38] Jordan Harbinger: With all your stuff.
[00:08:39] Mike Rowe: With all our gear in sandals running, I could still hear them running behind me, it was like, "Compromiso, compromiso," and they run by. Anyway, we tip them obviously, but I had this old Walkman, this old Sony Walkman and Soundgarden had just come out—
[00:08:54] Jordan Harbinger: Oh yeah.
[00:08:55] Mike Rowe: —right?
[00:08:55] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:08:56] Mike Rowe: So Superunknown.
[00:08:57] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:08:57] Mike Rowe: First album, I had been listening to that and I put these headphones on this kid. And I said, "Hey, what do you think of this?" Because he played the flute, you know?
[00:09:05] Jordan Harbinger: Right, some sort of wooden thing.
[00:09:06] Mike Rowe: So this is the first time he ever heard an electric guitar. It's the first time he ever heard that big screeching tenor harmony. It's the first time he heard a drum kit like that. And you could just see his head exploding. He couldn't have looked at me with more wonder, had I pulled my own head and presented it to him while it was still talking. So I said, "Look, keep it. Just keep it."
[00:09:26] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:09:26] Mike Rowe: "Enjoy the album, enjoy the thing." But then when I left I was like, "Oh crap, what have I done?"
[00:09:31] Jordan Harbinger: Colluded the—
[00:09:33] Mike Rowe: Well, it's like the Prime Directive on Star Trek. You messed with something. And what happened when the batteries ran out? Or like, is there a giant monument now there, somewhere that looks like a Walkman?
[00:09:44] Jordan Harbinger: 1989, first version one, Sony Walkman with like the futuristic looking digital fun on the front.
[00:09:50] Mike Rowe: Right, so like, you know, the ultimate arbiter of knowledge is Chris Cornell, right?
[00:09:54] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:09:55] Mike Rowe: We have to consult the—
[00:09:56] Jordan Harbinger: The oracle.
[00:09:57] Mike Rowe: —the records.
[00:09:58] Jordan Harbinger: That's like the boy scout rule is, what? "Take only pictures, leave only footprints," and possibly a Walkman with a Soundgarden cassette in it.
[00:10:05] Mike Rowe: Take all you want, eat all your take.
[00:10:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yes, 10 years ago or over 10 years ago now, I'm watching TV in my friend's basement where essentially I was living and studying for the bar exam. And I'm miserable as can be starting for the New York bar exam. And I see this guy's sticking his hand deep inside some animal, and I remember thinking, "This is really cool. I mean, how do I get that job?" And at this point you have your hand up a bull's ass. So I should've probably taken a cue about my career choices from that, thinking, doing the whole compare, contrast back then in retrospect, 20/20 hindsight. You've got the peripeteia.
[00:10:39] Mike Rowe: Anagnorisis and peripeteia. That's right.
[00:10:41] Jordan Harbinger: I only got the last part.
[00:10:42] Mike Rowe: Well, you know, anagnorisis is a Greek word for discovery. Peripeteia is a form of discovery. Aristotle basically argued that all insight comes through a series of discoveries and great narratives are informed by anagnorisis that lead to a peripeteia. And that's a discovery that changes the direction of the narrative, right? So when Bruce Willis realizes at the end of The Sixth Sense that he's dead. That's a peripeteia.
[00:11:09] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:11:09] Mike Rowe: Right? Now, along the way he has all these anagnorisis but when he makes that kind of realization, that's when the narrative of the story changes. That's when his life changes. Just like when Oedipus realizes he has anagnorisis, Oedipus does an act two when he meets this hot older chick and they start to make love and fall in love, and then they have babies, and then they're married, all anagnorisis. Act five, he realizes the hot older chick is his mom.
[00:11:35] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, man.
[00:11:36] Mike Rowe: Peripeteia.
[00:11:37] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:11:37] Mike Rowe: It changes the direction of the narrative.
[00:11:42] Jordan Harbinger: So mine would have been sitting in an office in Manhattan, checking for commas in an 800-page document and going, "I wish I had my hand in a bull's butt somewhere like Mike Rowe.
[00:11:51] Mike Rowe: Yeah. I mean, look, people would look at Dirty Jobs and find whatever they were seeking.
[00:11:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:11:55] Mike Rowe: You can look at that show. You can look at that segment and see a big cautionary tale, you know? And a lot of people did. A lot of people watched it with their kids to say, "See, it could be worse. It could be that guy." But, equally passionate among the viewers were the people who watched and said, "See, there's dignity in that." You know how important it is to put your hand up the bull's ass? It's kind of critical because that's where you insert the probe that stimulates the prostate that ultimately triggers the ejaculate, which allows you to artificially inseminate a hundred cows. You take artificial insemination out of modern agriculture and McDonald's isn't feeding billions and billions.
[00:12:33] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Sure.
[00:12:34] Mike Rowe: This is not going to happen. So, you know, that show was a hot mess. It was a scatalogical romp. It was exploding toilets and misadventures and animal husbandry but we were always able to find a peripatetic moment, either for me — I mean, that was really my job. I wasn't a host. I was more of this avatar, a guest.
[00:12:53] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:12:53] Mike Rowe: It was very, very liberating not to have to tell the viewer the truth of a thing. You know, not to be judged by one of the correctors we were talking about. But rather, try it. As an apprentice would on the first day—
[00:13:05] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:13:06] Mike Rowe: —and do your best. Maybe you're right, maybe you're wrong.
[00:13:08] Jordan Harbinger: What do you think when people say things like, "Oh yeah, I watched your show with my kids so I can tell him what happens if he doesn't go to college." I mean that, at some point, if I were in your shoes then, I would be annoyed by that.
[00:13:19] Mike Rowe: I mean, you can't afford to be. Dirty Jobs, first and foremost, was an entertainment proposition. So when people stop me because they know me or they want to talk about the show, I've never looked at them as fans, I've looked at them as my boss. When your boss stops you to talk about your work, you better freaking listen.
[00:13:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:13:37] Mike Rowe: You may not like it, but you have to listen. I used to tell the story in Newark, I got off a plane. I was walking through the terminal and the first guy that stopped me, he was on a ladder up in the ceiling. And he came down from the ceiling and said, "Hey, man, I just got to tell you my wife and my kids and I, we watch your show. And it's just so great because I can show them opportunities that they didn't know existed. And I can use what you're doing as proof positive that opportunity is not dead." And then 15 feet later, a guy in a Brooks Brothers suit, stopped me, Wall Street type, you know—
[00:14:09] Jordan Harbinger: I know the type.
[00:14:10] Mike Rowe: And he said, "Man, watch your show with wife and kids every Tuesday. It's so much fun. You're very funny. And I can point to my kid and say, 'See? See what happens if you don't go to college?'" Look, in the end, that's showbiz.
[00:14:22] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. The boss analogy works great because in truth, if you treat fans like they owe you something, you won't have them for very long.
[00:14:30] Mike Rowe: Nobody likes to kiss ass.
[00:14:31] Jordan Harbinger: Right. And then you're in trouble. Why are you always running towards the thing that makes you uncomfortable? I mean, that's something that you've mentioned in some of your posts and in some of the shows. Why is that sort of a personal motto?
[00:14:41] Mike Rowe: Well, it's not really, to be honest, in real life that doesn't inform my every position, but in TV it does. Because in TV, I believe, certainly in 2001, the Discovery Channel was completely reliant on a non-fiction model that elevated the host and the expert to a level of absolute primacy. Right? So if you saw somebody on Discovery, it was because they knew what they were doing. They knew what they were talking about. It could be, it could be Jacques Cousteau. It could be David Attenborough, you know, it didn't matter. But fundamentally they were an arbiter of accuracy. In the wake of that, my feeling was they had an opportunity to be an arbiter of authenticity. That's a different model. It doesn't require a host. It requires a guest. It doesn't require an expert. It requires an apprentice. So the idea of saying, "Look, I want to do a show that fundamentally challenges the underlying perception you have of your own brand." That's a tough sell, but they gave it a try, to their credit, because Dirty Jobs is still fundamentally rooted in curiosity. So we were still satisfying curiosity, but I had assumed this different sort of mode, the cipher of sorts, and that changed everything. It just means I didn't have to ever be right.
[00:16:07] Jordan Harbinger: Did come up with those kinds of rules for the creative process, or was that something where they were like, "Look, we need somebody who's going to do it this way," and you just nailed it"?
[00:16:13] Mike Rowe: Well, it certainly wasn't. That meant as much as I'd like to tell you that all this is the result of a well-executed plan. I kind of Forrest Gump my way into it. I knew I didn't want to be held to the same standards as a host. And I'd been freelancing as a host for 15 years before that, here in San Francisco at Evening Magazine. I mean, that's what I did for 10, 12 years. I would go out and I would host a show from a restaurant or a winery or someplace. And hosts and reporters, they're — with respect, they're empty suits.
[00:16:47] Jordan Harbinger: Commodities, essentially of talent.
[00:16:49] Mike Rowe: Yeah. Well, we're interchangeable. I mean, why do you imagine the news looks the way it looks in every market? Why does FM radio sound the way it sounds in every market? Once you codify the system and then you start putting humans in it, all they can really do to find certainty in their life is something derivative. They have to imitate something that they saw before that makes sense to their brain.
[00:17:12] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:17:13] Mike Rowe: So pretty soon all the DJs talk like this.
[00:17:15] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:17:15] Mike Rowe: What the hell is that? Why does that happen? Well, as a host, I was doing the same thing, you know? "Hi San Francisco, Mike Rowe here, tonight on Evening Magazine, blah, blah, blah." I listen to those old tapes. I'm like, "Jesus, what were you doing?"
[00:17:27] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, a little painful.
[00:17:28] Mike Rowe: "What are you doing? Why are you wearing makeup? Why do you look at a prompter and read it in an attempt to convince someone you're not reading it?"
[00:17:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it does make sense.
[00:17:38] Mike Rowe: Buries the authenticity. Right? So anyway, all of that sort of informed the first episodes of Dirty Jobs. And once people started to watch it, it became for sale.
[00:17:50] Jordan Harbinger: Why the emphasis on authenticity? I mean, even the show that I do, all the time, the intro, nothing has got to be scripted because it just comes across as plastic and people want to get to know — nowadays people want to get to know you, it's not 1940 radio where you're a disembodied talking voice or a TV host with the Evening Magazine. It seems like you swam upstream in some ways, trying to become authentic in a market that wasn't necessarily thinking that they wanted that at the time.
[00:18:16] Mike Rowe: Yeah, I did but don't confuse it with like, you know, bravery or foresight. I swam with the salmon.
[00:18:21] Jordan Harbinger: I was going to say you're the salmon of showbiz here.
[00:18:24] Mike Rowe: Well, before Dirty Jobs, I was right in the middle of the herd. It took me 15 years of sort of mastering my toolbox and understanding what worked and what could get me paid. You know, I was basically paid to impersonate a host for 15 years and I became facile at it. I was never properly acquisitive. Like I know Tom Bergeron and, you know, Tom hit it big as a host. I went as far as I wanted to go as a host. Dick Clark hired me. I worked for a lot of guys, but to me, the most interesting thing doing the traditional route was to approach hosting and TV like a tradesman would a project. So short term, small bites, don't get stuck with a hit. God knows you don't want to hit, then you're going to be — you're just sucked in forever.
[00:19:13] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:19:13] Mike Rowe: Yeah. I felt really smart and clever for about 15 years working on jobs and projects that were so doomed, so poorly conceived, that no amount of luck or talent could possibly salvage them. I would attach myself to those projects. Essentially like the Titanic looking for an idea. And I knew they would fail, but I would do the best work I could. And so I never took heat for it. And in that way, I was able to work and take a lot of time off and feel all clever about it. Dirty Jobs was just a miscalculation.
[00:19:47] Jordan Harbinger: Right. You accidentally made something that people really liked that went on for a long time.
[00:19:51] Mike Rowe: Yeah. I made a deal with the network that allowed me to narrate their big tent pole shows, you know? Like Planet Earth and big brand friendly shows and go on these various expeditions. And they said, "Let's do something to introduce you to the viewer." And I pitched what was at the time called Somebody's Gotta Do It, which I did here in town. And they said, "Well, let's call it Dirty Jobs and see if anybody cares." They had no idea anybody would watch. And they were horrified when they did, to tell you the truth.
[00:20:19] Jordan Harbinger: Why?
[00:20:19] Mike Rowe: For the same reason, the GOP was horrified when Donald Trump was standing in the middle of that stage, for the same reason, because there's a cognitive dissonance and big brands that. So Discovery in 2004 — this show went on the air 2003, it rated through the roof, they took it off. It was off-brand. It scared the heck out of them. And I went back to going to Alaska and Egypt and doing these other shows. But then about eight months later, this — you can't make this up. They had Steve Erwin and they had the MythBusters and they had a bunch of new talent, a bunch of old talent, and they wanted to get a sense. They had like 18 new shows in development. So they sent them all to Vegas and locked like 500 people in a room for a week and made them watch everything. Big focus group.
[00:21:07] Jordan Harbinger: Focus group, ugh.
[00:21:08] Mike Rowe: Somebody, somebody at Discovery took an old episode of Dirty Jobs off the shelf and threw it in this pilot stuff, really just as fodder. The results after the focus group were deeply disturbing to people who were in the business of predicting results.
[00:21:25] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, right.
[00:21:25] Mike Rowe: The Dirty Jobs was by far the number one show. And I was rated very, very favorably as a host, which in my world is avatar guest, that kind of thing. That's when they ordered the series.
[00:21:39] Jordan Harbinger: What were you thinking when they said, "Look, we want to do more Dirty Jobs"? Were you elated when they wanted more Dirty Jobs or were you like, "Oh crap, I'm stuck with this now"?
[00:21:46] Mike Rowe: Yeah, it was very much a careful what you wish for moment, because remember my contract, you know, it just had three one-hour versions of jobs. And then all the other stuff that we really made the deal for, that's where the focus was. You know, Dirty Jobs happened because my mother called me here in San Francisco. She was in Baltimore and my granddad was 91 or 92 at the time. He was dying. And this is a guy who could like build a house without a blueprint. He was my inspiration as a kid and I wanted to follow in his footsteps. He only went to the seventh grade, but master electrician, a plumber, steamfitter, pipefitter, welder, mechanic, right? So he's dying and she calls and says, "Michael, it would be so nice if your grandfather could turn on the TV before he goes and see something that looks like work." To see you do something that looks like work. So that's why it started. It was very personal. I was doing jobs that would make my grandfather laugh. But of course, that's exactly why it worked, because when it aired, people saw those jobs and said, "Oh man, you should talk to my brother, sister, uncle, cousin, grandfather, dad, mom," right? And it just became very, very relatable overnight. And so when they ordered more, I was flattered that people would like it. But that show was hard, right? I mean—
[00:23:07] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:23:08] Mike Rowe: You can't cheat on that show. The big advantage I had was I didn't have to be competent and I didn't have to be correct. But I had to try, which means, you know, you shoot from sunup to sundown. Sometimes you're swinging a malate and sometimes you're dangling from a bridge and sometimes you're testing a shark suit and sometimes you make big rocks out of little rocks.
[00:23:30] Jordan Harbinger: You're listening to The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Mike Rowe. We'll be right back.
[00:23:35] Hey, all, it's holiday season here. And I wanted to do a special, a little bump here for GiveDirectly. GiveDirectly is a nonprofit. You've heard me talk about them before, which means you can deduct it off your taxes if you donate here. They are a really good charity. They send money directly to people living in extreme poverty. This is like less than a dollar, 90 a day, which if you think about it as kind of, I don't care how cheap things are in these countries. That's disgusting that people have to live on that. And we're talking people with families. So these cash donations you think like, "Oh, I don't want to just give them cash. I want to give him food or medicine." Cash donations, unconditional cash donations, where they just get money, studies show, they spend it on school. They start businesses. They actually eat three meals a day instead of skipping them because they can't freaking afford to eat. They're healthier. They're depression lessens, domestic violence goes down. I mean, it's just one of the best uses of charity money that I can think of at all. And they're run really efficiently, like 90% of your dollar, so 90 cents on the dollar goes to the people. They're not spending it on stupid parties and ridiculous publicity stunts. All right, this is a really good organization. I'm donating money to them this season. They've donated a ton of money, like $500 million to over a million recipients across 10 countries. It's so nice to know that you're not just buying another wireless speaker that you don't need or something like that, but you're sending it to people who can't even freaking afford to eat. So if you want to join me in this, go to givedirectly.org/jordan, give directly.org/jordan. Your first gift will be matched up to a thousand dollars. Like I said, I'm putting my money where my mouth is and I highly encourage you to do it too. If you're anything like me, you'll feel great after you do it, knowing your money is going to a great cause.
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[00:26:15] Jordan Harbinger: Thank you for listening to and supporting the show. Your support of our sponsors keeps us going. I know some people skip the ads. Look, I don't mind if you do that occasionally, but I would love it if you would consider supporting those who make this show possible. We take all the codes and all the URLs, they're all in one place. jordanharbinger.com/deals is where you can find it.
[00:26:31] Now back to Mike Rowe.
[00:26:34] You got to be in it otherwise, yeah, it's like Entertainment Tonight where they're standing in front of the video playing behind them. You've got to stand up on the wind power thing in the wind with the guy going, "Oh yeah, don't step back any further." And it's like, you should have maybe said that five steps ago.
[00:26:49] Mike Rowe: Yeah. You go in the hole.
[00:26:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:26:50] Mike Rowe: You don't talk about what's at the bottom of the opal mine shaft. You go in the shaft. You know, you have to go to where the work is. And so that was the great trade and the beauty of Dirty Jobs. I had one job to try my best. And then right under that was say things that would amuse your best friend if you guys were watching this together. So most of what I said was an attempt to amuse myself, and most of what I did was an attempt to keep up.
[00:27:20] Jordan Harbinger: You're very anti-bromide, which is one of the reasons why I thought you were a really great fit for the show because cliches and these little bits of advice and things like — that are meaningless, in my opinion, are things you like to pick apart, and that we like to pick apart and shoot the platitude down, dissect the frog and find out that it has no guts.
[00:27:37] Mike Rowe: Mm-hmm.
[00:27:38] Jordan Harbinger: I think one of the most common bromides that we hear, especially my generation in my field of with the entrepreneurship field or whatever, you hear, these things like, "Follow your passion. Follow your gut. Follow your dreams. Don't ever quit." I know that you don't agree with that as much as I also don't agree with that. That's my pet peeve essentially.
[00:27:55] Mike Rowe: Well, look, anytime wisdom becomes conventional and then written on a piece of parchment and then framed in some cheap mahogany and then, hung in some godforsaken conference room, that's where you've crossed over. You know, now you have a platitude, a bromide, a trope. People are so desperate to have a playbook that they gravitate toward one. But of course, it doesn't exist. And following your passion — we did a special on Dirty Jobs called The Dirty Truth, where essentially, I walked through an old office building and hung all of my least favorite bromides on the wall. And then essentially tore them apart, one at a time using dirty jobbers as proof, you know, to contradict the conventional wisdom. Never follow your passion. Always follow your passion was the first one I remember. It was like a rainbow and a flower, or like maybe some butterflies and a waterfall. And I didn't know what the hell they're talking about.
[00:28:51] Jordan Harbinger: Passionate waterfalls and butterflies.
[00:28:52] Mike Rowe: But this idea whether it's in work or in romance, you know, the idea that your happiness is contingent upon finding the job that will make you happy. Your dream job, for instance, is not so different than finding the girl that will make you happy, you know, your soulmate.
[00:29:12] Jordan Harbinger: The one out of seven billion—
[00:29:13] Mike Rowe: Yeah. She's out.
[00:29:14] Jordan Harbinger: —design for you.
[00:29:15] Mike Rowe: She's out there. And if you're not really enjoying your life right now, you just have to find her and it'll be okay. Having a bad day at work? It's not you. You need your dream job, so never, ever give up on your passion. That's what we tell people. And look, there are times when it's excellent advice. There are times when it's the worst advice in the world. And that's why it becomes a sacred cow that's fun to push against. American Idol has to be one of the most amazing shows ever. There's so much about it I hate, but one of the things about it that I loved was early in the season, you know, the early auditions where they go to a town and thousands of people show up. Thousands of people show up following their passion. They've always wanted to be a singer, a pop star, and they're going to give it a shot. It's not alarming that they can't sing. What's alarming is that they discover it so often for the very first time on national television at 20 years old, their whole life they've been told, "Look, if you want it bad enough, it's going to work out. If you're passionate about it, it's going to work out. You're my precious little boy. You're going to be great. Go for it. Go get them." I just think it's a massive disservice to tell people that the approximate cause of their vocational happiness is contingent upon their ability to never change course.
[00:30:38] Jordan Harbinger: I can't agree more. I mean, I think the fact that we are telling the young people, this is especially alarming because when we get older and we find out the hard way, depending on how, I guess, plastic you are with the ability to adapt to the truth, you can find yourself in a world of hurt. You can find yourself in a real world of hurt. Even if you're a good hard worker and you can outwork people that are smarter than you, which was my competitive advantage growing up, essentially. You still find yourself swimming with sharks when you're a lawyer and you go, "Oh my God, not only do I not want this, but I worked so hard to get here," and maybe your passion shifts. There were a lot of people in my class who thought, "I want to be a lawyer, for sure," and two years later, they're emailing me, "Hey, are you hiring?"
[00:31:19] Mike Rowe: Yeah.
[00:31:19] Jordan Harbinger: "Because this is terrible." So even when you get what you want, you're not always going to want your passion.
[00:31:24] Mike Rowe: There's a terrible inertia around passion. And really just around living, you know? Way leads onto way, as Frost said, and I love that because it indicates a crooked road. But this idea, you know, real inertia that just pushes you further and further down the path that you're on. And so if you're not sure what you want to do with your life, and you're 18 years old, well, you got a problem because society today is going to tell you, you need to decide, and then they're going to say, "Well, you need to go to school." And then they're going to say, "Not just any school, you need to get a four year degree." So you decided 18 or 20, or whenever it was, "I'm going to be a lawyer." Where did you go?
[00:32:02] Jordan Harbinger: Well, actually, I went to undergrad at Michigan and then I tried to get a job at Best Buy. They said, "No, you have to sell CDs. You can't build computers." Even though I was building computers at the time for neighbors and friends, they said, "You've got to sell CDs first. Then you can move up later." And I thought, "Well, the answer to this is clearly more education." So then I applied to law school and I went to Michigan Law and I thought, "I don't really want to be a lawyer, but more education is for sure the way to get around that, you know, I'll be able to do anything with this great law degree."
[00:32:30] Mike Rowe: What'd it cost you?
[00:32:30] Jordan Harbinger: Counting undergrad, plus grad at least $200,000, minimum.
[00:32:36] Mike Rowe: So there it is. How old at this point when you get out of—?
[00:32:39] Jordan Harbinger: When I got out of law school at 26 years old, I graduated with just soul crushing amount of debt.
[00:32:45] Mike Rowe: This is what we're doing to our kids, man. And it kills me because why in the world would anybody ever be forced to decide what they have to do when they're 20 years old? I'm still figuring it out.
[00:32:58] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:32:58] Mike Rowe: And it's just an unhealthy, unrealistic, unnecessary amount of pressure. That pressure becomes inertia because once you decide, then you declare a major and now you've written the first check. And then the first semester is behind you, then the second. All right, so now with every passing day, it's harder and harder to call an audible and go, "You know something? Maybe I'm pissing up a rope here. Maybe this isn't for me," but no, 30 grand, 50 grand, 80 grand, a hundred, 120, $200,000 in a hole looking for a job. As you described in a shark tank, essentially.
[00:33:33] Jordan Harbinger: Now, those jobs don't even exist anymore.
[00:33:35] Mike Rowe: They don't exist. But the thing that kills me the most, isn't the fact that people have to live with the consequences of their decision, but it's the money, it's the debt. And it's the pressure to borrow an unlimited amount of money. We're $1.3 trillion in the hole. 1.3 trillion. There is by no metric anywhere that I've seen a shortage of lawyers, but they're 5.8 million jobs right now that exists that people aren't trained for, that don't require four year degrees, and they're sitting there. And so we are so completely out of whack with the opportunities we're encouraging and the opportunities that exist.
[00:34:13] Jordan Harbinger: Surprisingly, none of those 5.3 or 5.8 million jobs that exist, none of those were discussed with us in our orientation at the university.
[00:34:22] Mike Rowe: No, because to our earlier point, those jobs are optically cautionary tales. Very, very few people, very few parents who didn't work in the skilled trades go to bed at night thinking, "Gosh, I sure hope Johnny turns out to be a plumber or a welder." They don't wish it for them. Guidance counselors don't wish it for them. We've had dozens of guys gone through our program, welding making over a hundred grand a year. You can't get their stories out. And when people read them, they don't believe them. And when they believe them, they still go, "Eh, that looks really hard."
[00:34:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, sure.
[00:34:56] Mike Rowe: So, you know, it's a problem. It's a mindset. It's societal and it's systemic.
[00:35:01] Jordan Harbinger: So follow your passion — the verdict of this it seems like is you're just not a fan of that little dingleberry of faux advice.
[00:35:08] Mike Rowe: Thank you for that word, by the way. It's got to get back in the lexicon. If we do nothing else, but re-introduced dingleberry into the vernacular, you know, I think we can take some credit for that.
[00:35:19] No, I would never simply go out and say, "Oh, passion is no good." You know, I would never say, "Don't follow your passion." What I said was, "Don't follow your passion, but always bring it with you." Because the truth is why in the world would you want to do anything you weren't passionate about. See on Dirty Jobs, example after example, this is the reverse commute. This is the salmon we're talking about. You know, the salmon aren't following their passion, although they are trying to spawn, I suppose. So you can make a case for it.
[00:35:46] Jordan Harbinger: There's some passion involved.
[00:35:47] Mike Rowe: There's some passion. But when I think about, you know, like the septic tank workers I met, there was a guy in the first season. Les Swanson was his name up in Wisconsin. I wound up in a tank with him, one of these pumping stations on the side of the road, like up to our nipples in other people's filth, knocking cholesterol off the side of the walls in about 120 degree environment. It was truly heinous. And I looked at him at one point, I said, "Les, let me ask you something, man. What did you do before this? How did this happen to you?" And he said, "I was a guidance counselor in high school, and then I was a psychologist," and I said, "You got to be kidding me. Why this?" Without missing a beat, he said, "I got tired of dealing with other people's sh*t."
[00:36:32] But you know, aside from the obvious laugh line, the joke is really on the rest of us. Because back to his house, at the end of the day, his summer house, by the pool with a margarita machine and his two trucks and his five employees, you know, once again, a guy doing a thing most people don't want to do, creating not just a job for himself but a business. And his whole rap to me was, "Look, this was never my wish fulfillment but I got to a point where I said, 'Let's just put the opportunity before what I want or what I even think I want.'" And again, I don't want to say it with certainty because then it will sound like a bromide, but the idea, when I say the reverse commute, what I mean is start with the opportunity, figure out how to be great at it, and then figure out how to love it.
[00:37:23] Jordan Harbinger: So the passion comes from becoming great at your craft.
[00:37:26] Mike Rowe: Yeah. Or deciding that you're going to love it. Like, I mean, I know that sounds glib. This is a bit of a stretch, but why are the divorce rates among arranged marriages so much lower than in the west?
[00:37:42] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. There's a lot of theories about that, but I think the reason is because in cultures, well, one of the reasons is because in cultures where they have those arranged marriages, they realize, "Look, this comes before the love part and the love part comes into the marriage later. And we build that through hard work, instead of just hoping that it falls from the sky, from the ether."
[00:37:59] Mike Rowe: So I don't mean to say that anybody can marry anybody and live happily ever after. Chemistry matters. That thing we call passion that, that basic attraction, that basic willingness to do a job that has to be there. But this idea that that person is responsible for your happiness or that that job is responsible for your success, that's a non-starter. It's a trap.
[00:38:22] Jordan Harbinger: That's true. Yeah. We just got engaged actually a few months ago. We're getting married soon.
[00:38:25] Mike Rowe: Congratulations.
[00:38:25] Jordan Harbinger: As part of it, since she and I are such big fans of your work, I thought, "What do I have to do to somehow involve Mike Rowe in this particular element of the story?"
[00:38:35] Mike Rowe: Am I going to marry you guys? Is this what's going to happen?
[00:38:37] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, well, since you're offering, I think it's a great idea. I think that's a great idea.
[00:38:41] Mike Rowe: Well, where do you want to do it, here?
[00:38:42] Jordan Harbinger: It's around here.
[00:38:43] Mike Rowe: If I can't actually perform the nuptials, a recorded song?
[00:38:47] Jordan Harbinger: Perfect.
[00:38:48] Mike Rowe: A heartfelt message? Something like that.
[00:38:51] Jordan Harbinger: She's so excited now. That, by the way, it was not planned. You hit the big time if I can throw that word around there, relatively late for a lot of showbiz people. This all hit off in what, your early 40s, maybe?
[00:39:03] Mike Rowe: I was 44 when jobs actually went on the air—
[00:39:06] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:39:06] Mike Rowe: —in an aggressive way.
[00:39:08] Jordan Harbinger: To what do you attribute that if not, "Well, I'm following my passion, the TV thing," or were you doing just that and it happened to work out?
[00:39:15] Mike Rowe: Again, there is a real element of Forrest Gump-ery—
[00:39:19] Jordan Harbinger: Got it.
[00:39:19] Mike Rowe: —in this, you know, but I had come to a point in my life where I was actually — my smugness with respect to my business plan regarding touching everything like it's hot, right? Like I was doing infomercials, a lot of them. I was doing guest spots on soap operas. I was doing animated projects. It didn't matter. I didn't care what it was. And I didn't want to know what it was. None of that was germane. I just wanted to get paid and do good work and then forget about it. And the truth is that can only last you back to passion.
[00:39:55] My passion was in figuring out an overall lifestyle and congratulating myself for having five months off a year where I could do stuff I really cared about. The switch that flipped on Dirty Jobs just meant that there was no more time off. So now the thing I'm working on, it has to satisfy both my bank account and it has to satisfy my time, which is now completely consuming. And I have to love it. So I didn't have to work hard to love it because there was enough contrariness in the show. Again, here, I remember back to the GOP and Discovery. I'm the guy at Discovery with the show that Discovery does not want you to like. In the same way the GOPs looking at those 17 people on stage going, "Yeah, look, this is the Jeb Bush show. We want you to like him and maybe that guy over there and maybe her, anybody but him. Not the guy in the middle." Dirty Jobs for the first season really was like that. And it was so much fun to go to work every day and know that I was in this place of real cognitive dissonance. It was a fun show to promote. It was a fun show to do. And it just gave me permission really to weigh in on any kind of work because we tried it all.
[00:41:17] Jordan Harbinger: So Dirty Jobs was the Donald Trump of Discovery channel.
[00:41:20] Mike Rowe: Your words, not mine. And there've been others since. 32 shows have come out of Dirty Jobs. You can draw a straight line back to—
[00:41:27] Jordan Harbinger: The garbage pickers and the Alaska—
[00:41:29] Mike Rowe: Sure, swamp people—
[00:41:30] Jordan Harbinger: Ice road truckers.
[00:41:31] Mike Rowe: All that stuff. Ax men, you know, those were all segments on Dirty Jobs. Even Duck Dynasty—
[00:41:38] Jordan Harbinger: Yes.
[00:41:39] Mike Rowe: Now Duck Dynasty, fundamentally different format, but all of a sudden Duck Dynasty shows up on A&E. No one knows. I mean, what? It was confusing enough with Dog the Bounty Hunter. Where's the art? Where's the entertainment, right?
[00:41:50] Jordan Harbinger: Right, true.
[00:41:51] Mike Rowe: So this tension between brand and program and brands who fall deeply in love with their own bromidal version of themselves always interest me because that's when they're most vulnerable. The GOP knew exactly who their constituents were going to vote for, except they were totally wrong. And Discovery knew nobody would watch a show with a middle-aged smart alec making poop jokes in a sewer.
[00:42:21] Jordan Harbinger: Whoops, yeah.
[00:42:22] Mike Rowe: Oops. Now what? Better stick your hand up at cow's butts. See what happens.
[00:42:25] Jordan Harbinger: Season 12. Still reaching into mare's stuff.
[00:42:29] Mike Rowe: Feces from every species.
[00:42:31] Jordan Harbinger: That's right. I made the mistake of watching the lamb testicles episode shortly before prepping for this. Yeah, it was one of the most memorable episodes, at least for me, because it caused a visceral fetal position, not repeated convulsion, just kind of a dry heave and stay—
[00:42:46] Mike Rowe: You recoiled.
[00:42:47] Jordan Harbinger: I recoiled.
[00:42:47] Mike Rowe: Yeah, it's normal. Anytime someone removes the testicles from a creature with their teeth.
[00:42:54] Jordan Harbinger: With testicles, yeah.
[00:42:55] Mike Rowe: You have to step back and take stock. That was probably one of the most important episodes we did.
[00:43:00] Jordan Harbinger: Why is that?
[00:43:01] Mike Rowe: Because it was my first attempt to do everything right. You know, I mean, I'd had this really passive, aggressive relationship with the network. They were getting flooded with complaints from OSHA and Humane Society and PETA. And we sort of had this detente and we're going to keep the show going, but I'm going to be a better team player. So I go in and I say, "Look, I want to do this story on lambing and I want to do all the parts of lambing. And part of that is going to be castration." And they said, "Well, what's that involved?" And I said, "Well, let me tell you what I did. I called the Humane Society and PETA. And they both told me the same thing. They said, 'The approved method of removing the testicles from a lamb is to take a rubber band and put it around its sack, thereby retarding the flow of blood to the testicles. And then they turn black over a couple of days and then they fall off.'" And I'm like, "Oh my God, really?" And I'm like, so that's the PETA approved way. And they're like, "Yeah, that's the way we do it." And I said, "Okay." Now, in my mind, I'm thinking, you know, visually, this will be good TV. Weird, but I've never put a rubber band on the testicles of anything, my species or anything.
[00:44:09] Jordan Harbinger: Sure you haven't.
[00:44:12] Mike Rowe: So we get there, you know, and we basically get all the lambs together and we start the process. And Albert, the rancher, he pulls out a knife and he grabs the scrotum between his thumb and his finger. And he pulls it toward him, and he cuts the tip off the scrotum, and then he pushes it back. And these two pink thumbs emerge from this fleshy sack. Before I could stop him or do anything, he just bends down and he bites them and he snaps his head back and rips them out by the root.
[00:44:40] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, here comes that singular convulsion.
[00:44:43] Mike Rowe: But imagine me, I got three cameras rolling.
[00:44:46] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:44:46] Mike Rowe: And I'm standing here thinking, "You know something? This is not what the Discovery channel has in mind." So I'm like, you know, "Okay, stop Albert. You're doing this thing that the people do in reality TV, you're trying to shock me."
[00:44:59] Jordan Harbinger: Hamming it up.
[00:45:00] Mike Rowe: Yeah.
[00:45:00] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:45:00] Mike Rowe: You know, he was a great guy, big old mustache, his wife, Melody, the two of them, there was just like, "What are you talking about?" I'm like, "You can't bite the balls off a sheep, dude. We're in a family show. We're 220 countries." He goes, "Well, what do you want us to do?" I'm like, "Wse the rubber bands." He goes, "Oh, god, the rubber bands?" I'm like, "Well, yeah, the rubber bands." He said, "Okay." So we put another sheep up there. Melody spreads the legs and Albert goes in and puts on the rubber band with a special device that widens it. And then you put them over the scrotum. God, I can still see it in my head. Anyway, they put the lamb down on the ground. He looks at me exactly what the exact expression you would have if you were lamb that had a very tight, rubber band around your nuts, it's troubling. And he staggers, takes a couple of steps away and then stops and looks back at me over his shoulder. And then he walks to the corner of the pen. It makes a circle and then just lies down and starts quivering. And I say to Albert I'm like, "Jesus, how long is this going to go on it?" "He'll be in hell for about two and a half days."
[00:45:56] Jordan Harbinger: That's terrible.
[00:45:57] Mike Rowe: Meanwhile, the one he had just bit down on.
[00:46:01] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:46:01] Mike Rowe: Prancing around, this is literally two minutes later, not a care in the world, no blood, you know, hanging out with his mom and trotting around. So that episode was important because right there on international television, we had proof that, you know, the business of being in compliance, but not out of danger, all that stuff we were talking about before—
[00:46:22] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:46:22] Mike Rowe: There it is. I went to the expert. I was told precisely how this works, precisely what, and I was absolutely wrong. The way Albert had been doing it for generations was kinder to the animal. It was more efficient in the field. You needed two people instead of three. There's a long list of logical reasons to bite the balls off sheep. It's actually more sanitary to, if you can believe it.
[00:46:43] How can that be true?
[00:46:44] Because do those testicles, they're in a thing called the scrotum. They've never been exposed to the air.
[00:46:49] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. Yeah.
[00:46:49] Mike Rowe: You don't linger down there. You get in—
[00:46:51] Jordan Harbinger: You get it, you get out.
[00:46:52] Mike Rowe: You get in, you get out. Poof. Bob's your uncle. Anyway, a peripeteia.
[00:46:56] Jordan Harbinger: Yes.
[00:46:57] Mike Rowe: It was a peripatetic moment when you realize, you know, once again, "Everything I thought I knew about removing the nuts from a lamb was wrong. What else am I wrong about?" And if you can ask yourself that question, honestly, you're going to find answers.
[00:47:12] Jordan Harbinger: I'm sure. Yeah. I'm sure it's biting the testicles off a lamb is wrong. I don't want to be right.
[00:47:17] Mike Rowe: T-shirt.
[00:47:18] Jordan Harbinger: A t-shirt or a hat or both possibly. Why'd you insist on doing the show in one take? Is that true? I heard you do it in one take.
[00:47:24] Mike Rowe: Yeah. I mean, we did look back at specials where I was actually doing a version of wraps and I would occasionally circle back and get those and we — of course we shot lots and lots of footage that was never used.
[00:47:34] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:47:35] Mike Rowe: So when you see outtakes at the end of the show, that's always what that is. But I insisted on two things. The first was never a second take because the second take, by definition, has to be a performance.
[00:47:46] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Sure. It's just redoing something that happened but—
[00:47:50] Mike Rowe: Yeah.
[00:47:50] Jordan Harbinger: —towards slightly to the left.
[00:47:51] Mike Rowe: Or, you know, clean up your language, you stuttered a little bit there — some bull crap direction thing, right? That's what TV does. Take 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15 until somebody somewhere says, "Ah, it's perfect." Yeah, it's perfect, but it's a performance. So I wanted to show to be a love letter to take one. That was the thing. And you know, the argument was, "Well, what if we have a technical problem? What if a plane flies over?" I said, "I don't care." So we got to think called the truth cam, which was just an extra camera man with a behind the scenes camera who always stayed wide. So if Doug's camera broke or Troy's or somebody somewhere had a problem, I could always turn to the truth cam. Step out of the scene and sort of narrator chronicle. We didn't use it in every scene, but we used it in every show. And toward the end, we used it, we relied upon it because that camera proved — this was before you saw behind the scenes.
[00:48:41] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:48:42] Mike Rowe: So the second thing was, tied to that, I need the crew in the show. They don't need to be the same crew. It doesn't matter, but we're in the process of shooting a show. And so to pretend that we're not, that's a fundamental fiction with the viewers.
[00:48:57] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:48:58] Mike Rowe: The best way to make sure that take one is used is to contemporaneously make sure the crew is allowed to be in the shot. And that way you don't have to say, "Ah, I got to shoot it again because I got Troy's leg or I got, you know, Jones' boom was in the shot." I don't care if his boom's in the shot. You know, we're in a sewer. We're up on the Mackinac Bridge, 600 feet up, you know, changing nuts. I mean, it was like, what matters? What matters is the — it's not the shot, it's the work.
[00:49:29] Jordan Harbinger: This is The Jordan Harbinger Show with our guest Mike Rowe. We'll be right.
[00:49:34] This episode is sponsored in part by Better Help online therapy. We talk about Better Help and therapy a lot on this show. This month, we're discussing some of the stigmas around mental health. We've been taught, or at least I have, that mental health shouldn't be a part of a normal life, right? That's wrong as well. We take care of our bodies in the gym. We go to the doctor. We try to eat right, sometimes. Maybe not over this holiday season, but we should be focusing on our minds just as much. And many people think therapy is for like crazy broken people. That's just not true at all. Therapy doesn't mean something is wrong with you. It means you recognize that all humans have emotions and we need to learn how to control them and manage them, not just avoid them. Better Help is customized online therapy that offers video phone, even live chat sessions with your therapist. You don't have to see anyone on camera if you don't want to. It's much more affordable than in-person therapy and you can be matched with a therapist in under 48 hours. So, give it a try and see why over two million people have used Better Help online therapy.
[00:50:28] Jen Harbinger: Our listeners get 10 percent off your first month at betterhelp.com/jordan. That's B-E-T-T-E-R-H-E-L-P.com/jordan.
[00:50:37] Jordan Harbinger: This episode is also sponsored by Chinet. Chinet is a people-focused brand disguise as a premium disposable tableware brand. Chinet prides themselves on being part of authentic human connections and playing an important role in togetherness. They've been a part of American culture for over 90 years, providing durable plates, cups, cutlery, napkins, and table covers. Chinet is the go-to brand for cookouts, holidays, birthdays, game nights, baby showers, and more. Chinet brand believes not only that everyone should have a place around the table, but that everyone should be welcomed with open arms and a full cup. Chinet Classic, Chinet Crystal, and Chinet Comfort products are all made in the USA with at least 80 percent recycled materials. Chinet brands products can handle anything from the sauciest ribs to the most generous slices of cake. Made to be microwave safe and leftovers' best friend, easy cleanup, environmentally conscious. Great for the upcoming holiday gatherings and perfect for all of life's get-togethers. Visit mychinet.com to find out more.
[00:51:27] Now for the rest of my conversation with Mike Rowe.
[00:51:31] Speaking of the sewer shot, when you're in the sewer in San Francisco in these super old little brick round tunnels. The episode, there's a rat that like crawls over your leg or something like that, and you just kind of freak out a little bit, and I thought, "Why is it a stinking sewer rat that cracks the heretofore impenetrable Mike Rowe veneer of cool?"
[00:51:50] Mike Rowe: You're talking about a scene that's cut into the open of the show, it goes by in about a second. The truth is that episode was the first one we did. And that moment, you know, that's something I talk about all the time around the country when people ask. My transformation, my peripeteia from a host to a guest, happened in the sewers of San Francisco. I was trying to host Evening Magazine down there. The very first episode of Somebody's Gotta Do It, which became Dirty Jobs. That's me in the sewer, trying to look to the camera and welcomed the viewer into the sewer. But at every turn, I was thwarted by a lateral that exploded next to my head and covered my camera man with crap and the side of my face. I was thwarted by roaches, the size of my thumbs. Thousands, tens of thousands of them everywhere. And the final moment that rat appeared on my shoulder. It was a big rat, man. It's like the size of a loaf of bread.
[00:52:47] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, it was a big rat. I give you that.
[00:52:49] Mike Rowe: You know, it dove off my shoulder into my lap and I was wearing these thigh high hip boots. And if you squat down in thigh-high hip boots, they gap, right? So the rat goes into the gap and starts burrowing in a southbound direction.
[00:53:05] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, no, man.
[00:53:06] Mike Rowe: I jump up, scream, hit my head on the ceiling. A shower of roaches comes down. I fall faced forward into this fast-moving chocolate tide of truly disappointing effluvium and face first in it. And I pushed myself up and I spit something out of my mouth that never should have been in my mouth. And I turn to the guy I was working with, Gene Cruise. And he said in that moment, the thing that changed my career. He said, "When you're done screwing around with the local wildlife, why don't you come over here and give me a hand?" And so that's what I did, rather than host the show, we replaced rotten bricks in the sewers of San Francisco.
[00:53:43] Jordan Harbinger: I was watching that episode and another one on an airplane recently, and this woman three rows or two rows behind me goes, "Yeah, I've seen this guy before. How does he keep his fingernails clean?" So the public's dying to know, how do you keep your fingernails clean? I mean, how do you go to dinner after that and go, "Man, am I hungry?"
[00:54:01] Mike Rowe: Yeah, you don't. When we were shooting that show, it really and truly was — it was a band of brothers kind of thing. We didn't go to nice places. We stayed in Motel 6s. We stayed in Super 8s. We stayed in hotels with numbers in the title. If you see a number in the title of a hotel—
[00:54:17] Jordan Harbinger: Like Four Seasons—
[00:54:18] Mike Rowe: Like no, four is cool, if the number is spelled out.
[00:54:21] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:54:22] Mike Rowe: F-O-U-R.
[00:54:22] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[00:54:23] Mike Rowe: Great. But if it's still four, the number four, no, don't go in there, the Super 8, the Motel 6. Numbers, for whatever reason, don't scream, five-star luxury. But I lived in a Super 8, Motel 6 for years, shooting that show. And I can't tell you how many times, not to your point about dinner, but you come back to the room and you just smell like ass, man, or something worse.
[00:54:45] Jordan Harbinger: Or worse.
[00:54:46] Mike Rowe: I would leave my clothes and my shoes in the tub. I would sign a headshot and leave 20 bucks and a letter of apology for the maid because I couldn't take them home. You know? There's no way I can take those.
[00:54:57] Jordan Harbinger: Oh, you left them there for disposal. Yeah, sure.
[00:54:59] Mike Rowe: Yeah.
[00:54:59] Jordan Harbinger: Oh man.
[00:55:00] Mike Rowe: No, that's what I was saying, I haven't bought clothes in 15 years.
[00:55:03] Jordan Harbinger: So if you're in a Motel 6 and you saw feces covered or worse covered pair of jeans and boots and a headshot, and you're wondering who the squiggly autograph was from—
[00:55:14] Mike Rowe: It was me.
[00:55:14] Jordan Harbinger: It was Mike Rowe.
[00:55:15] Mike Rowe: It was me, the tasteful letter of apology to the maid.
[00:55:18] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my gosh. Celebrities get a lot of perks, you know, free food, free travel, free clothing. A lot of my show's fans wanted to know what the biggest perk was. But I seem to recall you being granted some special VIP porta-potty privileges on short notice.
[00:55:32] Mike Rowe: Are you talking about the show or are you talking about a very disappointing — Oh, I know what you're talking about.
[00:55:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yes.
[00:55:37] Mike Rowe: Sick — why would you? I went for a jog back when I used to care about exercising. This was probably seven years ago. I left my apartment in Cal Hollow and I jogged across the Golden Gate Bridge. Is this what you're talking about?
[00:55:49] Jordan Harbinger: This is what — yeah, I wanted to just get a rare glimpse into the lives of the iconoclast with this one.
[00:55:54] Mike Rowe: So what happened for me was I jogged across the Golden Gate. I had done my normal routine in the morning. I had as much coffee as you can sanely drink. And I had a big old breakfast and I for the past couple of days had been, not struggling, but aware of some disappointment in my lower GI tract. Nothing that would preclude me from taking a jog, but I was aware of it. Anyway, it was a beautiful day. I jogged across the bridge. I was halfway back. And it felt like an icepick was stabbed into my lower abdomen and a couple steps later. I felt I felt it again and it knocked the wind out of me and my knees buckled. And it was so horrible. You know, all I could think of was, God, it all comes down to the O-ring, you know?
[00:56:40] Jordan Harbinger: Like the gasket.
[00:56:42] Mike Rowe: The dignity of the species, it all just comes down to your ability to control this tiny little sphincter. And I'm doing the math in my head, you know, at this point on two miles from home, it's like labor pains. The stabbing is now coming like every 90 seconds. So if I run seven miles an hour, I'm two miles away, dah, dah, 20 minutes, you know, I'm just not liking any, I'm not liking any of the numbers, but I got to get off the bridge. Because a B-list celebrity who soils himself on a national monument, that's the kind of press you don't need.
[00:57:12] Jordan Harbinger: You don't recover from that too easily.
[00:57:14] Mike Rowe: I got off the bridge. I came around, down the Presidio and I realized I am not going to make it. I am — the ultimate humiliation is going to happen right there on Lombard. And I walked right around the corner on Scott. And I honestly don't know what I was going to do. I didn't know if I was just going to stand there quietly and crap my pants or actually pull my pants down. I didn't know what to do.
[00:57:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[00:57:37] Mike Rowe: It was, I'd lost my peripheral vision. I was hearing a buzzing in my ears. Like nothing mattered, except keeping that damn O-ring close. But like from Providence, you know, there was three construction workers putting in, amazingly, a sewer line and they had a porta-potty next to them and it was locked. Because in San Francisco, you—
[00:57:59] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:57:59] Mike Rowe: They locked the porta-potties.
[00:58:00] Jordan Harbinger: Somebody will live in there.
[00:58:01] Mike Rowe: Yeah, people are dying to get in those things. So I said—
[00:58:04] Jordan Harbinger: Case in point.
[00:58:05] Mike Rowe: I hadn't done anything. You know? I didn't have any money on me or anything, but I just said, "Guys, can I please get in here?" And the guy looked at me and said, "Hey, you're that guy?" "Yeah." I'm like, "Please move quickly." He opened that thing, I got in there. And I mean, it was as close as close can be, but it just sounded like Bastille Day, you know? And I came out and they were waiting for me with their cameras. So three selfies with three sewage workers who really saved whatever dignity I've left at this point, but completely saved me.
[00:58:35] Jordan Harbinger: Three selfies is a small price to pay, I think.
[00:58:37] Mike Rowe: I'd paid anything. I'd have given them a finger.
[00:58:39] Jordan Harbinger: Are you okay with the fact that you're a role model to so many people, I mean, intentionally or unintentionally through Facebook television.
[00:58:46] Mike Rowe: Doesn't matter.
[00:58:47] Jordan Harbinger: Is that changed your behavior at all in real life or online?
[00:58:50] Mike Rowe: I guess it has, I guess, yeah. It's odd because so much about Dirty Jobs was subversive, but that was 10 years ago. I'm not sure how funny it is for me to be as silly and irreverent as I was. You know, I run a foundation now and I do some other things now. So people don't really know exactly yet what the default position is for me. Like on this podcast, I'm doing.
[00:59:13] Jordan Harbinger: Sure.
[00:59:14] Mike Rowe: I did one the other day on the guy who invented a famous food. And he was a preacher, a reverend and his entire world was a rant against masturbation.
[00:59:27] Jordan Harbinger: Ah, yes.
[00:59:28] Mike Rowe: Right. So I told the story of this man and the way his beliefs informed his diet and the way his followers ultimately adhered to what it was he was getting at. But in the course of telling the story, you have to say the word masturbate like 50 times.
[00:59:46] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Sure.
[00:59:46] Mike Rowe: And I didn't want to do that because—
[00:59:48] Jordan Harbinger: It's a little crass.
[00:59:49] Mike Rowe: It's not crass. It's just, the problem is it's neither crest nor proper. It's clinical.
[00:59:56] Jordan Harbinger: Sure, sure.
[00:59:56] Mike Rowe: So it's like testicles today make people weirder than balls.
[01:00:00] Jordan Harbinger: Right.
[01:00:01] Mike Rowe: Because there's just something horrible about the specificity of it. So I just came up with every euphemism there was, you know? For cork in your own bat or polishing the spear or burping the worm or whatever you call it. Spilling your sin sauce, you know, there's a thousand of them and these get peppered through the entire thing. Well, my podcast is patterned after the late great Paul Harvey, who would really never talk about spilling one's heathens stew. So I got a lot of calls from people going, "Hey, maybe not so much with the masturbating anymore."
[01:00:34] Jordan Harbinger: Really? We listened to that one several times.
[01:00:37] Mike Rowe: You would.
[01:00:37] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah, you got us nailed us there.
[01:00:39] Mike Rowe: Dirty couple.
[01:00:40] Jordan Harbinger: And she would pause and go wait, "Okay, I get this one. What does this one mean?" I mean, we knew that they meant that and I'm explaining the physics of like corking a bat, for example.
[01:00:50] Mike Rowe: Look, my goal with that podcast, I have several, but bringing young lovers closer together as their nuptials approach through short stories, fraught with self abuse, that's certainly an aspirational goal. A consummation, devoutly to be wished.
[01:01:07] Jordan Harbinger: Top three purposes of the show, for sure. Yeah. We'll link to the show in the show notes as well for people who are listening to this and want to listen to Mike Rowe's podcasts. But tell us about the foundation as well. Tell us what you're doing with that and why, first of all.
[01:01:18] Mike Rowe: It's called mikeroweWORKS. It evolved out of Dirty Jobs in 2008, as you might recall that the economy kind of crapped the bed.
[01:01:25] Jordan Harbinger: I remember I got laid off. Best thing that ever happened to me. That's why I'm doing this now.
[01:01:28] Mike Rowe: So by 2009, unemployment is nine, 10, 11 percent all over the country, every single day. That's the headline. Every single day, all these people can't find work and the narrative became: it's because opportunity is dead. On Dirty Jobs, everywhere I went in every single state I saw help wanted signs, just everywhere, I mean, all 50 states. And I just started to feel like, you know, I think maybe there's another narrative unfolding here that nobody writes about. And you don't have to dig far back in 2009, there were 2.3 million jobs that were wide open, and we've got a skills gap. It was an inconvenient truth for the prevailing narrative. Because how can opportunity be dead if companies can't find 2.3 million people to do the jobs they have? Clearly opportunity's not dead, something else is.
[01:02:21] So mikeroweWORKS began as a PR campaign, really, to call attention to jobs that actually existed. And that's really all it was ever supposed to be. But then fans of the show started writing in all these apprenticeships and all the job training programs and things that existed in their state. So we built a trade resource center where anybody could go in 2009. 2010, 2011, and see what opportunities in their state exists that you're never going to hear about or read about. And then we started awarding a work ethic scholarships to people who wanted to avail themselves to those opportunities. So I started putting the arm on big companies. I started selling crap out of my garage, collectibles, rare, and precious.
[01:03:02] Jordan Harbinger: C-R-A-P, the acronym, of course.
[01:03:04] Mike Rowe: Our CRAP auctions, kind of a throwback to my old QVC days. And we raised and gave away close to four million dollars so far.
[01:03:12] Jordan Harbinger: Oh wow.
[01:03:12] Mike Rowe: In these work ethic scholarships, I mean, I hate to say legacy, because it just sounds precious. But mikeroweWORKS evolved out of Dirty Jobs. Its main function today is to provide work ethic scholarships, and make as persuasive a case as we can for the jobs that actually exist. That's what we do.
[01:03:29] Jordan Harbinger: What kind of jobs exist that people weren't finding? Welding and same sort of trades that we were discussing before.
[01:03:34] Mike Rowe: Sure, we could start with welding. I worked with a school in Southern Illinois called MTI. They got a call from Newport News, right? Ingersoll Rand, shipbuilders. "How many can you get us this month?"
[01:03:45] Jordan Harbinger: Oh wow.
[01:03:46] Mike Rowe: "We got 50." "How many do you need?" "800."
[01:03:48] Jordan Harbinger: Oh my goodness.
[01:03:49] Mike Rowe: So it's that?
[01:03:50] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah.
[01:03:51] Mike Rowe: It's all day long, all day long. We think about work. And we think about jobs in this country. Like, you know, there are these static things that exist in a vacuum. Jobs might, but opportunity is not that. And so many of these jobs require you to do a couple of things that are really out of favor, like retool, retrain, reboot, but mostly relocate. They're not right there necessarily waiting for you. And it's really, you know, not to bash on millennials by any stretch because whatever bad thing you have to say about them, it just simply a product of the people who raised them.
[01:04:25] Jordan Harbinger: Sure. Yeah, absolutely.
[01:04:26] Mike Rowe: But this idea that the job of your dreams, the idea that it even exists is fascinating. The idea that it exists at a pay rate that will satisfy your lifestyle is doubly fascinating. And the idea that it will exist at a pay rate that satisfies your lifestyle in your current ZIP code is the height of madness.
[01:04:48] Jordan Harbinger: That's what people expect a lot of the time.
[01:04:50] Mike Rowe: I run into it all the time. Yeah. Look, this opportunity sounds great. But do you want me to do? Move to North Dakota? Sure.
[01:04:55] Jordan Harbinger: Yeah. How soon can you get here?
[01:04:56] Mike Rowe: I got dozens of people who do it, every month. You want me to go to the Gulf? Yeah. That's where they're making $140 an hour right now, welding.
[01:05:03] Jordan Harbinger: Wow.
[01:05:03] Mike Rowe: I mean, so yeah, you got to have to go there and here's the thing it's hot and it's cold up there. We're not in San Francisco.
[01:05:09] Jordan Harbinger: Right. Yeah, where it often is cold and hot, at the same, sometimes it's in the same day.
[01:05:13] Mike Rowe: Totally. So we call them work ethic scholarships because we make our applicants make a case for themselves. They've got to make a video. You got to write an essay. You got to provide references. You got to sign a sweat pledge. I wrote a sweat pledge, 12-point statement of belief one night after I drank a bottle of wine. And if you're not willing to sign it, then it's entirely possible this pile of free money might not be for you.
[01:05:37] Jordan Harbinger: Before we wrap, Mike, I've got a story for you and the format may seem a little familiar. This is based on a letter from a fan of the show. The letter reads as follows: "Dear Jordan, congrats on interviewing Mike Rowe. However, I've been harboring a secret vendetta against Mike Rowe for years. I think once you read this, you'll understand why. In fact, I'm quite interested in what he has to say for himself if you get a chance to tell him the following story. In the year 2010, I was the intended recipient of a pair of World Series game 1 tickets, courtesy of the company for which I worked. Originally, my friend's father, one of the company's executives had planned to go, but at the last minute something came up and the tickets were once again available. I called my friend to see if he was up for the trip. If we could somehow play hooky from work and pull it off. But by the time I went to claim the tickets, I was informed they were already gone. After a bit of prying, my friend's father told me that he had given them to his friend, Mike Rowe, who already lived in San Francisco. I, of course, objected on two counts. One, it was not made clear that the ticket lottery was open to anyone outside the company. And two, I'm sure if Mike Rowe wanted to go to the game, he could have gotten his own damn tickets."
[01:06:47] Mike Rowe: It's reasonable.
[01:06:47] Jordan Harbinger: "It's important to note that I harbor no ill will toward Mike Rowe. And in fact, my wife and I only donate to the mikeroweWORKS foundation every year, because it's the only organization we can both agree to give money to. Signed, Matt."
[01:07:00] But there's more, also from Matt, "Hey Jordan, quick update. Hope this makes it in time. First, I've called my father to get more details for you. And it seems that the story about Mike Rowe getting those World Series tickets is actually not true. As it turns out the tickets were actually given to the brother of the CEO. The reason he told everyone that he gave them to Mike Rowe is because everyone thinks so highly of Mike, nobody would be angry about him being the recipient of the tickets. In other words, the tickets were sniped and he used Mike Rowe as a cover to make that happen. Sorry for the confusion. I guess you don't have a story for Mike Rowe after all. And I apologize for that, but, au contraire, [Mr. Pennisi] because Mike as it turns out this time you were recruited for one final dirty job, the filthiest of them all, serving as a scapegoat for a ticket hustle perpetrated by a mattress company executive. An executive who in a past life served in another highly esteemed position that of your college roommate, Mr. Mike Thompson. Anyway, that's the way I heard—"
[01:08:01] Mike Rowe: Good grief. Mike Thompson. Unbelievable, good grief. That was a long run for a short slide, as we call it. Mike Thompson's kid goes to Bucknell, I think. And so his friend probably does too. I don't know, but that's — hard to know what to say to that except that last time I heard Mike Thompson's name, we talked a couple of years ago. He reached out of the blue, but he was a guy — he used to work for Black and Decker in Baltimore, Maryland. And this guy, he was a freak of nature. He looked like he fell off a Wheaties box and he also looked. Every quarterback for every winning college team you've ever seen. I always looked at him with something akin to naked envy. I'm happy now he's in the mattress business. Good for you, Mike.
[01:08:47] Jordan Harbinger: Mike, thanks for coming on.
[01:08:48] Mike Rowe: You're welcome.
[01:08:49] Jordan Harbinger: Appreciate it.
[01:08:49] Mike Rowe: Thank you.
[01:08:51] Jordan Harbinger: If you're looking for another episode of The Jordan Harbinger Show to sink your teeth into, here's a trailer of our interview with Mike Rowe, host of Discovery's, Dirty Jobs, and Returning the Favor on why the advice "follow your passion" is complete BS. So stay tuned for that after the close of the show.
[01:09:07] Mike Rowe: Follow your passion as a bromide is precisely what 98 percent of the people do who audition for American Idol. And they're lined up, thousands of people who have been told, "If you believe something deeply enough, and if you want something bad enough, and if you truly embrace the essence of persistence and your passion, if you let your passion lead, you stick with it."
[01:09:30] Well, following your passion is terrific advice if the passion is taking you to a place where opportunity and your own set of skills will be able to coexist. Passion is something that all of the dirty jobbers that I met possessed in spades. They just weren't doing anything that looked aspirational. So it was confusing.
[01:09:53] So if a guy in a plaid shirt, sipping a cappuccino, that doesn't make sense. Well, guess what? Neither does a septic tank cleaner worth a million dollars.
[01:10:02] Jordan Harbinger: That guy had a million-dollar business?
[01:10:03] Mike Rowe: I actually counted them up once. I could be wrong by a couple, but I put over 40 people that we featured on Dirty Jobs as multi-millionaires. Passion isn't the enemy. It's just not the thing you want pulling the train, but look, I don't say don't follow your passion. I say, never follow your passion, but always bring it with you.
[01:10:28] Jordan Harbinger: For more with Mike Rowe, including a behind the scenes look at some of his shows and why we shouldn't view a blue collar career pursuit as a cautionary tale, check out episode 264 right here on The Jordan Harbinger Show.
[01:10:42] Great big thank you to Mike Rowe. His podcast is called The Way I Heard It. If you haven't heard it, the format will sound a little bit like the way I ended the show. Wasn't that clever? But really such an amazing guy. I've really appreciate talking with him, always. I kind of want to be Mike Rowe when I grow up, but I don't think I'm probably ever going to grow up.
[01:10:57] And if you're also inspired by what Mike Rowe is doing, the mikeroweWORKS foundation is amazing, very worthwhile charity. That's mikeroweworks.com. We'll link to it in the show notes. They focus on helping people get jobs that actually exist. And I think these days, those are probably the best kinds of jobs to have. Links to all things Mike Rowe will be in the show notes at jordanharbinger.com. Please use our website links if you buy books or anything from our guests. That does help support the show. Yes, it works for audio books. Yes, it works in other countries. Transcripts are in the show notes. There's a video of the interview on our YouTube channel at jordanharbinger.com/youtube. I'm at @JordanHarbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. You can also hit me on that.
[01:11:33] I'm teaching you how to connect with great people and manage relationships. Using the same systems, software, and tiny habits that I use. That's our Six-Minute Networking course. The course is free. It's over at jordanharbinger.com/course. I'm teaching you how to dig that well before you get thirsty. And most of the guests on this show subscribe and contribute to the course. Come join us, you'll be in smart company where you belong. This show is created in association with PodcastOne. My team is Jen Harbinger, Jase Sanderson, Robert Fogarty, Millie Ocampo, Ian Baird, Josh Ballard, and Gabriel Mizrahi. Remember, we rise by lifting others. The fee for this show is that you share it with friends when you find something useful or interesting. If you know somebody who's a Mike Rowe fan or interested in jobs that actually exist and focusing on those, please do share this episode with them. I hope you find something great in every episode of this show. Please share the show with those you care about. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show, so you can live with you listen, and we'll see you next time.
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