An open letter to Mike Rowe (yes, the Dirty Jobs guy)
This letter is in respose to Mike Rowe's response to Facebook comments on his Wal-Mart commercial voiceover that aired during the 2014 Winter Olympics in February. Click here for Mike's original post and this letter will make much more sense.
Dear Mr. Rowe,
[oh, who am I kidding?]
First, I must assure you that I will only write this 1 letter, not 5,048. I certify I am not part of any quasi-workers-rights organization, nor will I flood your inbox (or Mary's) with unnecessary hate mail, death threats or form letters urging you to sit down with "real" Walmart employees and listen to their plight. Also, I do not own any sort of robotic telemarketing equipment that will jam up your voice mail.
I'm just me, a business professor at a state university with a Ph.D. in the areas of human resource development and ethics that was nested within a department at the University of Minnesota called Work and Human Resource Education. Along the way I was tortured with had the pleasure of reading research on the history of vocational education, self-directed learning, adult education, and a book entitled Shop Class as Soulcraft : An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew Crawford that I, admittedly, skimmed and did not read. Then again, that was before I was a fake biker and it has a motorcycle on the front, so perhaps I should consider another go. Crawford, both a philosopher and a mechanic, extolled the virtues of working with one's hands in addition to one's head. That sounds like you, Michael.
I'm also the mom to four kids, one of whom is a 19-year old male who is just not liberal arts material, gotta say. He doesn't know this yet, but if the midterm grades are any indication, he'll know it soon. I've realized the value and need for more vocational education programs, if only in my own home.
My last point to prove I'm not a crazy person begins and ends with a Mike Rowe quote: "So, it's really a mechanical butt hole, then." Poo pot episode. Can't. Get. Enough. Of. That.
[Excuse me while I find that clip online and watch it a dozen times.]
Ok, I'm back.
I was recently at the Academy of Human Resource Development conference in Houston, TX and you came to mind.
Seriously. I'm not even kidding.
I attended a presentation by Dr. Richard Torraco and Minerva Tuliao from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Together they presented a paper entitled The Changing Job Market and Workforce Development: Tracking a Rapidly Moving Target. They introduced us to the term technological unemployment (Brynjolfsson & McAfee, 2011) that can be seen by the replacement of manual jobs by technological improvements: bank tellers by ATM's, transcriptionists by automated dictation systems, toll booth operators by pre-paid scanning systems, travel agents by online travel sites.
Yep, made sense. I mean, I like my banker but the ATM is a godsend.
Torraco and Tuliao stated that both jobs and wages are increasing in highly educated professional, technical and managerial positions, while earnings remain steady in occupations that are require little formal education such as food service, personal care and security services. What's more, job opportunities have risen since the 1980's while the wages have stayed the same (Autor, 2010).
Basically we're hollowing out opportunities for mid-skilled jobs to exist.
So, this is happening, then...
Originally posted on February 25, 2014: http://janacraft.blogspot.com/2014/02/an-open-letter-to-mike-rowe-yes-dirty.html
Dr. Jana Craft is a Christian, wife, mother, business professor, fake biker and terrible cook who writes about the struggle to balance these identities and the joy derived from them all. She writes daily on Holding True @ http://janacraft.blogspot.com