Profoundly Disconnected By Mike Rowe
Mike Rowe calls Profoundly Disconnected a “fake book” containing just one single paragraph. Well, that’s true…and it isn’t.
If you’ve seen Mike Rowe’s television show “Dirty Jobs,” you’ll know he has a quirky sense of humor, and that comes through loud and clear in his “non-book.”
In fact, the book contains 154 pages, including a foreword (written by his mother), a proper – and hilarious – preface describing his first “dirty” job, an introduction that explains the reason for this book, the 1-page confession alluded to in the book’s title, the afterword, 35 blank pages (actually half of them are lined), a 98-page appendix of articles and previously published pieces, a 12-point “sweat pledge” and 2 pages of acknowledgements.
You could skip to page 3 and read the “real” book, or sit back in your recliner like I did and enjoy the Rowe-isms we fans have come to know and love.
Mike Rowe’s PR campaign for skilled labor
Profoundly Disconnected is a fundraising tool. While the book revels in sewer jokes, animal fertility quips and various on-the-dirty-job faux pas, Mike’s reason for publishing Profoundly Disconnected is to raise money for his non-profit foundation MikeRoweWORKS, an organization he launched in 2008. Initially started as a message board for skilled jobs, MikeRoweWORKS grew into a foundation, a scholarship fund and a PR campaign for skilled labor and alternative education.
For 8 years, the Dirty Jobs show on Discovery Channel sent Mike Rowe into hundreds of somewhat out-of-the-ordinary job sites where he played apprentice to seasoned workers who knew what they were doing. He worked in sludge, poop and other icky stuff while delivering his quips and describing the frequently interesting inventions portrayed in the episodes.
During the series, Mike gained an appreciation for people who worked hard at jobs that made life easier for the rest of us. As he said, “Somebody’s gotta do it.”
Starting a PR campaign to reduce the stigmas around certain kinds of jobs grew out of his TV show experiences. As Rowe researched further, he saw how vocational education had been downgraded and ultimately removed from most school systems. That led him to question how America would be able to repair bridges or fix old roads without skilled laborers.
And, for the most part, the skilled labor pool is NOT available in the United States at this time. When there are 3,000,000 unfilled jobs existing alongside record-high unemployment, there’s a disconnect, says Rowe.
Further, after decades of pushing students to get 4-year college degrees that teach no job skills, the education system (parents and politicians, too) is now faced with the reality that no one is learning how to repair the country’s infrastructure.
Innovation and technology in the skilled labor workforce
If it sounds like Mike is stuck in the past, that’s not the case at all. He’s tremendously excited about the role of innovation and technology in the workforce. If you remember the show, it featured a lot of inventors and truly creative entrepreneurs who saw a need and found a unique way to fill it.
In Profoundly Disconnected, Mike Rowe gets his message across, with lots of humor, his usual candor, and heartfelt requests that we think differently about the nature of work. In the appendix, Mike revealed some of the more controversial subjects he has tackled over the years, including the OSHA versus farmers “ladder incident” and the “Safety Third” kerfuffle.
Mike Rowe doesn’t mince words and this helps him get conversations going about what’s important to him. And that’s valuing hard work and skilled labor.
He’s a man on a mission and he wants us to join him. If you’d like to help out, here’s the link to Mike’s book Profoundly Disconnected
A trillion dollars in student loans. Record high unemployment. Three million good jobs that no one seems to want. The goal of Profoundly Disconnected is to challenge the absurd belief that a four-year degree is the only path to success. The Skills Gap is here, and if we don’t close it, it’ll swallow us all. Which is a long way of saying, we could use your help…
American television host and narrator, actor and former opera singer, best known for his work on the Discovery Channel series Dirty Jobs.
Librarian’s note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.
#Mike Rowe is a man I will stop my day to listen to, whether he's giving a speech or writing down his thoughts. I began as a fan of Dirty Jobs, but his dedication to the cause of understanding just what it is about Americans and hard work that has us all so twisted (and putting his money and talents where his mouth is with all of his organized efforts to help fix a persistent and growing problem) has kept me following him post-show.
I bought this book because the money goes to his foundation (he readily and profusely admits that it's partly a gimmick with that monetary end), but also because I figured it would be a one-stop place to get all of his best ideas that I might not have heard yet in one comprehensive package. It is. This book, through a series of collected speeches, articles, Q&As and online responses, collects Mike's Rowe's thoughts on his overarching idea that America is "profoundly disconnected" when it comes to work. Anyone who follows him in any way knows about his passion and dedication to helping to fix this, and the book, for all its slightly gimmicky presence, is a printed embodiment of that passion.
A solid read that will make you think about the economy, jobs, and the college degree(s) hanging on your wall in a whole new way. Also, the purchasing price goes to a good cause.
I realize this sounds more like a review of Mike Rowe than his book, but if you read it you'll understand that they're basically the same thing.
#Let me preface this with a bit of a disclaimer, I consider this book to be more of a free gift for a donation to The MikeRoweWorks Foundation. In that respect, I think it is fine. This isn't really a book, it is a foreword, a single paragraph, and then half of the book is comprised of blank pages, and the other half are previously published articles and interviews. I enjoyed having those interviews and articles in one place and they all carry Mike's message loud and clear and offer a lot to think about.
My issue is with the blank pages. I feel like they were a pretty weak cop-out. Mike offers a short piece in the opening of the book where he begins to describe his first foray into what later became Dirty Jobs and it was excellent, but he stops short of telling the tale which was entirely engrossing and then you hit into the blank pages. That bothered me. I wanted to overlook it and ignore it but I can't. I feel like it was an easy way out. He would have had to write 40-50 pages of content, heck with a photo and title page for each vignette even less. It could have still contained the articles/interviews to pad it out and it would have been something with some real substance instead of what comes off feeling too gimmicky and empty. I also feel like it is in a bit of poor taste to not just write a few pages of text especially when the point is hard work, ethics, and honoring people that do a lot more strenuous jobs than sitting at a keyboard for a bit. I wanted desperately to shake those feelings but ultimately I couldn't.
I'm happy to support his efforts and message and I would have gladly donated with or without the book, but if you are going to offer and make a book, make it count.
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