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Mike Explains Further

In the long history of bad advice, you’d have look pretty hard to find something dumber than Work Smart Not Hard. It first appeared years ago as part of a recruitment campaign for college. It was bad advice then, but today, it’s just plain dangerous. Google Work Smart Not Hard and you’ll see just how far this idiotic cliche has wormed it’s way into our collective conscious over the last forty years. It’s repeated daily by millions of people like some timeless chestnut of conventional wisdom. Is it possible we actually believe such nonsense? You bet it is.

Consider the reality of today’s job market. We have a massive skills gap. Even with record unemployment, millions of skilled jobs are unfilled because no one is trained or willing to do them. Meanwhile unemployment among college graduates is at an all-time high, and the majority of those graduates with jobs are not even working in their field of study. Plus, they owe a trillion dollars in student loans. A trillion! And still, we push a four-year college degree as the best way for the most people to find a successful career?

The evidence suggests we’ve taken some very bad advice, and tried to separate hard work from success. Consequently, we’ve become profoundly disconnected from a critical part of our workforce. The skilled part. The part that keeps the lights on. That’s just crazy. In a sane world, there should be posters hanging in high schools that reflect the reality the situation we’re in. Wouldn’t it make more sense to promote Work Smart AND Hard.

So…with a little creative license (and no respect for the original,) I’m pleased to present a new platitude with a different attitude. I think the image speaks for itself, but if you want to see how we made it, watch this. And if you’d like to help spread the word, I’ll try to talk you into buying one here.

Posters are $10 or as much as you want to give. All proceeds go to the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, which pays for trade school scholarships.

PS. If you’re bored, fascinated by behind-the scenes footage, and curious about the process that brought this poster to life, you might also enjoy this video. Then again, you might be left wondering precisely how much time I’ve actually got on my hands. And subsequently, yours. Only one way to find out…

The S.W.E.A.T. Pledge

Here’s a picture of me holding a copy of The S.W.E.A.T. Pledge. (Skill and Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo.) I wrote The Pledge last year for three simple reasons:Mike-Rowe-SWEAT-Pledge copy

1. I believe what it says, and felt strongly the world needs one more acronym.
2. I wanted to raise some money for the scholarship fund. (We sell them for $10, and the money goes to the foundation.)
3. I needed something declarative that everyone must sign who applies for a mikeroweWORKS Scholarship. Something that reflected my own view of work-ethic and personal responsibility.

*You don’t have to apply for a scholarship to get your own signed copy. Each Pledge contains 2 signature lines – one for Mike and one for you. The poster is perfect for framing, and starting awkward conversations about personal responsibility.

You can buy Mike’s Work Smart AND Hard and The S.W.E.A.T Pledge posters and other great items on The Shop page. Check it out!

  • Pingback: No Jobs? Mike Rowe's Lament

  • Athena007

    LOVE the new one! Can we, also, buy the S.W.E.A.T. Pledge poster?

    *Nevermind! I see it listed along with this one. :)

  • Browncoat

    I tried college. Wasn’t for me. Too much partying and not enough patriotism kept me out of the military. So, in 1978, I opted to join the pipefitters apprenticeship (union). Loved it. Also learned about the seedier side of union power. Pretty much voted Republican ever since. But I finished the four year program as a journeyman pipefitter and did that until 1990. I’d taken a CAD course and became an industrial piping designer. Done that ever since… And for the last 10+ years, the money has been very good. God had a plan. And worked.

    • Big Jim

      sorry to hear you thought GOP was once worth voting for. Glad to hear you have now seen the light though!!

      • Browncoat

        At one time, not too long ago, it WAS worth voting for. Now I vote as conservative as possible whether GOP (rare) or Democrat (non-existent where I live). And when and if I have money for a race, it goes to the candidate, not the party or the PAC.

  • Queenbee

    I’m with Athena007! I want the S.W.E.A.T. Pledge poster! PLEASE!