Mike Rowe Gives the Best Career Advice To a Fean, Joe Girard, CareersI just read about something Mike Rowe did for one of his fans that blew my mind.  I hope it makes YOU stop and think as well.  Mike Rowe is famous for his show, Dirty Jobs  and is a great TV personality – he has awesome energy, and seems to genuinely care about what he’s doing.

If you go to his Facebook Page (link at the bottom of the post), you will see that he REALLY does care about his fans and the role he plays for people. His fans send him mail and he actually responds.

Recently, a fan wrote to him about help finding a job and he totally knocked the advice out of the park.  Have a read:

Saturday Mail Call

Hey Mike!

I’ve spent this last year trying to figure out the right career for myself and I still can’t figure out what to do. I have always been a hands on kind of guy and a go-getter. I could never be an office worker. I need change, excitement, and adventure in my life, but where the pay is steady. I grew up in construction and my first job was a restoration project. I love everything outdoors. I play music for extra money. I like trying pretty much everything, but get bored very easily. I want a career that will always keep me happy, but can allow me to have a family and get some time to travel. I figure if anyone knows jobs its you so I was wondering your thoughts on this if you ever get the time! Thank you!

Parker Hall

These are common questions that I get asked all the time too.  What people want and don’t want in life.  Trying to figure out their next steps.  And feeling disheartened at the whole process.  Does any of that sound familiar to you?  Well, read Mike’s wonderful reply and leave your comments below!


Hi Parker

My first thought is that you should learn to weld and move to North Dakota. The opportunities are enormous, and as a “hands-on go-getter,” you’re qualified for the work. But after reading your post a second time, it occurs to me that your qualifications are not the reason you can’t find the career you want.

I had drinks last night with a woman I know. Let’s call her Claire. Claire just turned 42. She’s cute, smart, and successful. She’s frustrated though, because she can’t find a man. I listened all evening about how difficult her search has been. About how all the “good ones” were taken. About how her other friends had found their soul-mates, and how it wasn’t fair that she had not.

“Look at me,” she said. “I take care of myself. I’ve put myself out there. Why is this so hard?”

“How about that guy at the end of the bar,” I said. “He keeps looking at you.”
“Not my type.”

“Really? How do you know?”
“I just know.”

“Have you tried a dating site?” I asked.”
“Are you kidding? I would never date someone I met online!”

“Alright. How about a change of scene? Your company has offices all over – maybe try living in another city?”
“What? Leave San Francisco? Never!”

“How about the other side of town? You know, mix it up a little. Visit different places. New museums, new bars, new theaters…?”

She looked at me like I had two heads. “Why the hell would I do that?”

Here’s the thing, Parker. Claire doesn’t really want a man. She wants the “right” man. She wants a soul-mate. Specifically, a soul-mate from her zip code. She assembled this guy in her mind years ago, and now, dammit, she’s tired of waiting!!

I didn’t tell her this, because Claire has the capacity for sudden violence. But it’s true. She complains about being alone, even though her rules have more or less guaranteed she’ll stay that way. She has built a wall between herself and her goal. A wall made of conditions and expectations. Is it possible that you’ve built a similar wall?

Consider your own words. You don’t want a career – you want the “right” career. You need “excitement” and “adventure,” but not at the expense of stability. You want lots of “change” and the “freedom to travel,” but you need the certainty of “steady pay.” You talk about being “easily bored” as though boredom is out of your control. It isn’t. Boredom is a choice. Like tardiness. Or interrupting. It’s one thing to “love the outdoors,” but you take it a step further. You vow to “never” take an office job. You talk about the needs of your family, even though that family doesn’t exist. And finally, you say the career you describe must “always” make you “happy.”

These are my thoughts. You may choose to ignore them and I wouldn’t blame you – especially after being compared to a 42 year old woman who can’t find love. But since you asked…

Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.

Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way they feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.

Good luck –


PS. I’m serious about welding and North Dakota. Those guys are writing their own ticket.

PPS Think I should forward this to Claire?

How awesome is that?  Mike Rowe gives the best career advice and if you take the time to truly hear what he is saying, perhaps it can help you shift your own mentality.  Are you limiting yourself because of limiting beliefs? Are you making excuses?  Or making things happen?  It’s easy to give advice and just try and solve the specific problem, but can you dig deeper?

Remember there are three kinds of people in the world:

  1. Those that make things happen
  2. Those that watch things happen
  3. And those that go, “Holy shit! What just happened?”

Which one will you be?

Leave your comments below! What career advice do YOU have?

Credit: The Real Mike Rowe

Joe Girard
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    2 replies to "Mike Rowe Gives the BEST Career Advice Ever to a Fan"

    • janetm1234

      An excellent post Joe. Thanks. I liked how it made me think about my own life and of course I saw other people I know in the reading too. I’ll keep my opinions to myself though. 🙂

      • Joe Girard

        Haha! Yah, it’s probably best not to tell people it reminds you of them. Glad you enjoyed the post. I think we all have to take a step back sometimes and reframe the way we look at things. And ourselves. And kudos to Mike Rowe for having the guts to say something like that – especially to a fan. I think that is a true mark of an authentic leader. Willingness to offend in order to do the right thing.

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