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About: The only official Facebook page for me, Mike Rowe (the real one), host of Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs.
- Back in Community College, I had a journalism teacher named Paula Pumphrey. We called her Mrs.
(Type: photo | Published: 2014-03-14T16:52:30+0000 | Likes: 0 | Shares: 48)
The Real Mike Rowe: Back in Community College, I had a journalism teacher named Paula Pumphrey. We called her Mrs. P, and she was fantastic. Once, I turned in a feature story that I felt was maybe the best thing I’d ever written. In particular, I thought my first sentence really sang...
“On a misty morning in Southern Maryland, Mitchell Mycroft made a massive miscalculation - a mathematical mistake that be remembered as a marvelous misstep in modern manufacturing.”
Mrs. P circled the entire sentence with a red marker and wrote in the margin, “ALLITERATION ALMOST ALWAYS ANNOYS!!!”
She was right of course, and over that semester, her red pen was quick to chronicle a litany of assaults on her beloved tongue. Ever vigilant, she was the sworn enemy of dangling participles, split infinitives, squinting modifiers, and what she called - in spite of her distaste for alliteration - my “ever-present propensity to pontificate.”
I thought fondly of Mrs. P three years ago on this day. I remember the date - March 14 - because I was wrapped up in a minor drama with People Magazine and my various bosses at Discovery. Long story short, People wanted to do a big article on Dirty Jobs, which was a very good thing. But they also wanted to include pictures of me taking a shower. I was curious about that. Not because I’m bashful about getting naked - God knows. I just thought we should focus more on the people we feature on the show, and asked the people at Discovery if People might be open to another creative direction. (And really, who wants to show up shirtless next to Mario Lopez and Hugh Jackman?) Unfortunately, I was never allowed to speak directly with the person at People. The entire story was scrapped, and I was left to wonder if my concerns had been lost in translation.
Anyway, I had just sat down to explain myself in an open letter addressed to the People at People, when I got the call from a former classmate. Mrs. P had died in her sleep. That news inspired me to break out the Whistle Pig, which I am wont to do on such occasions, and raise a glass of rye to the passing of my pedantic professor. In fact, I may have raised a couple, as my friend and I recalled her aversion to alliteration, and reminisced on the phone for the better part of an hour.
After we hung up, I returned to my letter and began to write. Perhaps I was petulant, probably proud, or possibly partially pickled. But somehow, my sincere solicitation was morphing into a metaphorical monument to Mrs. P’s primary pet-peeve. My profundity was preternatural, and I was powerless to prevent a preponderance of P’s from piling up on the page. Happily, “prudence” was among them, so I hit “save” instead of “send,” went to bed, and forgot about the whole thing. Until this morning, when I remembered Mrs. P, and pulled this panegyric from my thick file of Whistle Pig inspired correspondence.
Below is the open letter I wrote to the People at People three years ago today. I still can’t tell if it’s clever or stupid, but if you read it out loud in a British accent, you might be mildly amused. (I was.) Either way, there’s simply not enough red in all of Paula Pumphrey’s pens to properly appraise the problems that plague this purely periphrastic petition. I’m posting it now because frankly, I have nothing else of great interest to share with you today, but feel the urge to commemorate the anniversary of my premature parting with People, and the passing of the perspicacious Mrs. P. And besides, it’s never too late to make amends - especially if you’re a person who needs People...
And by People, I don’t mean All People, or Most People, or Some People. I mean the People at People. Specifically, The Person at People who postponed the profile previously pitched around my public persona. Should this plea find a path to that particular person, I pray they’ll pity my plight, ponder my proposal, and perchance, pardon my public pandering. That would be perfect. But first, some perspective.
When The Discovery People first told me The People-People were planning a piece, I was predictably pleased. People is perfectly poised to proffer prime publicity for any program aspiring promotion, and I was predisposed to participate in whatever capacity the People-People preferred. However, I was not prepared for the pictures the People at People planned to procure. According to The Discovery People, the People-People were partial to presenting me shirtless.
Though complimentary, a pictorial of my pectorals presented a PR predicament. You see, Dirty Jobs is predicated on practical participants impartially presented without pretense or pomposity. I preferred to promote the program precisely through that paradigm, preserving in the process it’s proletarian personality, and my own pedestrian personage. In my opinion, the prospect of primping and preening in a powder room perpetuates the opposite perception, especially among persons predisposed to peruse a publication as eponymous and polyglot as People.
Anyway, I expressed my preference for a less provocative pose to The Discovery People. They passed my predilection on to the People-People, who promptly replied that preserving my pecs for posterity was in fact a priority for that particular profile. But when the Discovery People parlayed the Person at People’s preference, they implied in the process a possible perception of “prudishness” on my part. Preposterous! When it comes to probable probity, I possess no penchant for prudery, and no pretext of propriety. I simply preferred to perpetuate the premise of the program I pledged to promote by posing in a less predictable place.
But it was too late. The People People not only punted on their prior proposition, they pulled the plug on the complete profile. Worse, I was pointedly apprised by The Discovery People that the People People were probably perturbed because, “Mike and his people were too pertinacious. That was perplexing, partly because I have no people, per se, and no prior correspondence or personal proximity to any of the People at People!
Regardless, leaving a preeminent periodical with a poor impression is patently pea-brained. So I prodded the Discovery People to put me in personal touch with the People-People, so I could propitiate or perhaps pacify the person on point. However, The Discovery People preferred to protect the privacy of the People-People, preventing me from proffering a personal apology, and prompting me to post this public appeal. Which propels me to proclaim my primary point -
I’m ready to get naked for you.
Consider this a belated olive branch, (or a fig leaf, if you prefer.) I am a Person who needs People. More to the point, Dirty Jobs is a show that deserves a bigger audience, and if we had been allowed to speak directly I’m sure we could have found a way to satisfy your editorial requirements and my need for non-negative notoriety.
In other words, if you’ll pardon my prior proclivities, and reappraise the potential for a personal profile, I promise to respond promptly and present myself in whatever place you prefer, in whatever wardrobe you want. All I ask, is that you mention the foundation that’s grown out of Dirty Jobs. It’s called mikeroweWORKS, and we award “work ethic scholarships” to kids who are willing to learn a trade and work their butts off. How sexy is that?
Anyway, I’m standing by, and happy to meet in the shower stall or bathhouse of your choosing, camera-ready. (Though in the interest of full disclosure, the holidays were indulgent. If you want the Full Monty, your photographer will need a wide angle lens.)
- I saw a sign yesterday that read, “Citizens Raging Against Phones.” I suspect it had to do
(Type: video | Published: 2014-03-11T21:58:01+0000 | Likes: 0 | Shares: 84)
The Real Mike Rowe: I saw a sign yesterday that read, “Citizens Raging Against Phones.” I suspect it had to do with the backlash against the proposed use of cell phones on airplanes, a cause I’m happy to support in whatever way I can. But what struck me most was the acronym—C.R.A.P. Do you suppose it was intentional?
Back in my QVC days, C.R.A.P. meant Cheap Redundant Assorted Product, (at least in my juvenile mind.) I know a nurse who tells me it means Caustic, Rabid, And Putrid. My friends in retail say it means Customer Respected After Paying, which I suppose is truer in some places than others. And my father, when dining at The Golden Corral, uses it to reference Cheese Rice and Potatoes. (And he wonders why they make him wait for a table?) Of course, on these pages, C.R.A.P. stands for “Collectibles, Rare And Precious.” Which reminds me—it’s time to take one.
For the uninitiated, C.R.A.P. auctions are weekly, bi-weekly, and sometimes monthly fundraiser's for The mikeroweWORKS Foundation. (Our CRAPS are not regular.) Typically, they feature various mementos accumulated during Dirty Jobs, pulled from the clutter of my now useless garage. Lately though, they’ve featured unique gifts, sent by fans who know I’m going to autograph them and hawk them on the interweb to raise money for trade school scholarships. Last week’s offering was a golden nugget from Alaska, sent to me by Kevin Jupina, a diver on Bering Sea Gold. It went for $1025, and is now proudly possessed by the high bidder, a true humanitarian called Brandon Dodd. Many thanks, Brandon!
This week, the C.R.A.P. is altogether different. A longtime fan of Dirty Jobs named Karen Condon, just happens to be a consummate quilter. Last year, she sent me a custom made child’s quilt, done entirely in a Dirty Jobs theme, with a request that I offer it on a future episode of C.R.A.P. Well, the future is here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ajo3LG0vHWM&list=PL0k1L4404P48WaxkDNwxnVoefZcHZJavH&index=30 As you can see, the quilt is both one-of-a-kind and slightly used. (Never underestimate the rejuvenating power of an afternoon nap.) It comes with an improvisational pillow on permanent loan from last year’s Shark Week, also pictured. Both are autographed, and available for closer inspection and purchase here. (Model not included.)
Here is the eBay C.R.A.P. link: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=251472958507#ht_692wt_1362
Here is a link to the main "Shop" page where we've got those Dirt Shirts and posters: http://profoundlydisconnected.com/shop/
As always, bid high and irresponsibly.
Auction ends on Sunday.
(Shill For The Oppressors)
- Because it's Friday...
"Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I have been with a loose girl."
(Type: photo | Published: 2014-03-07T18:02:22+0000 | Likes: 0 | Shares: 51715)
The Real Mike Rowe: Because it's Friday...
"Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I have been with a loose girl."
The priest asks, "Is that you, little Joey Pagano?"
"Yes, Father, it is."
"And who was the girl you were with?"
"I can't tell you, Father. I don't want to ruin her reputation."
"Well, Joey, I'm sure to find out her name sooner or later so you may as well tell me now. Was it Tina Minetti?"
"I cannot say."
"Was it Teresa Mazzarelli?"
"I'll never tell."
"Was it Nina Capelli?"
"I'm sorry, but I cannot name her."
"Was it Cathy Piriano?"
"My lips are sealed."
"Was it Rosa DiAngelo, then?"
"Please, Father! I cannot tell you."
The priest sighs in frustration. "You're very tight lipped, and I admire that. But you've sinned and have to atone. You cannot be an altar boy now for 4 months. Now you go and behave yourself."
Joey walks back to his pew, and his friend Franco slides over and whispers, "What'd you get?"
"Four months vacation and five good leads..."
- What happens in Vegas...
gets posted on Facebook.
This was my fourth Constructi
(Type: photo | Published: 2014-03-06T17:23:20+0000 | Likes: 0 | Shares: 305)
The Real Mike Rowe: What happens in Vegas...
gets posted on Facebook.
This was my fourth Construction Expo. Always fun, always exhausting, always worth while. (Especially if you're an eight-year old trapped in a mans body with an interest in big machines and how they work.) A big thanks to Caterpillar for bringing me in, putting me up, and and allowing me to talk about mikeroweWORKS and thousands of great jobs waiting to be filled. The word is finally getting out, and if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, the opportunities are endless. http://profoundlydisconnected.com/trade-resource-center/get-a-job/
Speaking of mikeroweWORKS, we have a new partnership to announce, and it's a big one. Universal Technical Institute and mikeroweWORKS have allocated a million dollars for additional Work Ethic Scholarships. Along with Mid-West Technical Institute, The Tulsa Welding School, and The Refrigeration School, UTI has joined us in helping reward the kind of work ethic we all want to encourage. Details are in the press release. http://profoundlydisconnected.com/universal-technical-institute-and-mikeroweworks-foundation-launch-1-million-scholarship-program/ Other schools are taking notice, and so is the press. Very cool.
In other news, somewhere between the buffet and the craps table (really, what else would I play?) I completed my first official "book signing," which resulted in a few hundred additional sales of Profoundly Disconnected, the only one-page book currently on the market. In a little less than two weeks, book sales have raised over $80,000 for The mikeroweWORKS Foundation - not bad for a fake book with dirty pictures. Supplies are limited, so get ‘em while they last.http://mikerowebooks.com/
PS. Half a million likes. Wow. As my father says, “there’s no accounting for taste.” But thanks just the same, very much.
- Once More Unto the Breach!
Those of you following the slow motion pile-up out here on The Publ
(Type: photo | Published: 2014-03-03T01:40:15+0000 | Likes: 0 | Shares: 1243)
The Real Mike Rowe: Once More Unto the Breach!
Those of you following the slow motion pile-up out here on The Public Relations Super Highway have no doubt noticed the latest skid marks over in the passing lane - an Open Letter from Jobs With Justice, addressed to me. This latest missive is consistent with their on-going “Letter Writing Campaign,” urging me to meet with “real” Walmart workers, and “listen to their stories.”
Unfortunately, the sincerity of their invitation has been compromised by their tactics. To date, my Foundation has received over 9,000 form letters, each one informing my increasingly harried staff that Walmart workers “deserve more than their dirty jobs.” Concurrently, my Facebook page has been peppered with hundreds of identical queries, such as “Why won’t you meet with Walmart workers?” and, “Don’t you think it’s fair to hear both sides?” Or my favorite, “Mike, what happened to you? Why don’t you care about the little guy anymore?” These rhetorical gems are the Jobs With Justice equivalent of, “Do you still beat your wife?” and leave my Foundation’s newest employee wondering how she wound up working for such a cold-hearted creep.
Anyway, Jobs With Justice is getting a ton of press, and that’s fine by me. I’ve got nothing against their right to exist, and I’m sympathetic to the workers they represent. But I’m tired of the constant insinuation that I represent Walmart in some sort of official capacity. I narrated a commercial. I support their pledge to buy more US goods, and I’ve challenged other companies to follow suit. But I’ve never attempted to defend or condemn any of the issues that JWJ wants me to address. My foundation has no expertise in labor disputes, and neither do I. And yet, I am now beseeched to “hear both sides,” as though I’ve taken a position against honest people who work hard for a living. That’s an absurd mischaracterization, and it’s being perpetuated by letters like the one below. So, in spite of all the conventional PR wisdom to the contrary, I’m going to respond to these guys, one last time. I can’t do so personally, because this particular Open Letter is not signed by a human being. However, I’ll assume it was written by one. And because it’s respectful, I’ll give it an honest reply.
JWJ - Dear Mike,
Thanks for taking the time to respond to us directly on your Facebook page.
MR You’re welcome. I’ve tried to be as forthcoming as possible, and hope to continue that tradition right now.
JWJ - Jobs With Justice is a nonprofit organization committed to activism and lifting workers’ voices, which is why we’re frustrated that you’ve written a letter directly to Ori – one of our organizational spokespeople – instead of addressing the people who emailed you or the workers who are asking to meet with you.
MR - Sorry. I may not be up to speed with the proper protocol. But it’s difficult to know how to respond when 9,000 individuals flood my inbox with a mountain of identical correspondence. Are they all expecting a reply? I have replied directly to several hundred comments from your supporters on my Facebook wall, including those who have suggested the planet would be a better place without me on it. Unfortunately, I can’t get to all of them. Regarding Ori Korin, she mentioned me by name in the national media, and made some specific comments about the way I was handling this situation. I don’t understand why you’re frustrated that I would reply to your official spokesperson. Regardless, I meant no offense.
JWJ - We can all agree that Walmart is a divisive company, as demonstrated by the many emails you’ve received from our activists, on top of the thousands of comments on your Facebook page. When we heard your voice in one of Walmart’s new ads, our genuine hope was that we could build common ground around issues facing working people in this country, and in particular, at Walmart.
MR - Really? Then why didn’t you call me? Why not send a simple request through the US mail, or a brief note to the web-address you clearly possess? Instead, you encouraged the entire country to express their disappointment with Walmart directly on my personal Facebook page. Now, your campaign and this letter have been tweeted and retweeted to groups with members whose chosen form of communication involves all of George Carlin’s Seven-Words-You-Can’t-Say-On-TV. Are you now seriously suggesting that your “genuine hope” for building “common ground” was based on this kind of strategy?
JWJ - While we do not directly represent or organize Walmart associates, Jobs With Justice strongly supports Walmart workers in their efforts to improve their working conditions and achieve sustainable jobs.
MR - Then perhaps we do share some common ground. In the same way that you don’t directly represent Walmart associates, I don’t directly represent Walmart policy-makers. Your language however, has perpetuated the idea that an unidentified narration in a commercial has somehow qualified me to speak on behalf of the largest retailer in the world. That’s gotta stop.
JWJ - That’s why we urged our supporters – many of them your fans — to email you and ask you to meet with real Walmart workers who have been calling on the company to be a better employer.
MR - I’m a little puzzled by your repeated use of the word “real” to describe the workers you wish me to meet with. I’ve met lots of workers over the years. Some are happy, some are not. But they’re all real. Regardless, I am sympathetic to any worker who feels mistreated and want’s a better life. My foundation is focused on getting dissatisfied workers retrained and rehired somewhere else. Your focus is on getting them a better shake from their current employer. That’s cool. I’m not standing in your way. In fact, I am wishing you success.
JWJ - Walmart is a big deal because of its influence on our entire economy – a point you’ve made yourself when talking about their new PR campaign. But it’s hard for us to trust Walmart’s promise to invest in U.S. manufacturing when they’ve made a pledge to change before and the results have been questionable at best.
MR - Ok. Then don’t trust them. Be skeptical. As I’ve said from the start, if Walmart walks back from this commitment, they’ll be called out. And I’ll be doing the calling. (See - you can say such things, when you’re not a spokesman.) But even if Walmart falls short, don’t discount the power of a positive message in the mainstream media. We need more good messages around American manufacturing and hard work. I mean really, would you rather see another commercial trumpeting the weekly deal on the latest cell phone package or big screen TV? Big companies spend billions on advertising. Why not encourage more messages around a topic that can actually help your mission and the people you represent?
JWJ - Instead of following through on that pledge, the Alliance for American Manufacturing reports that Walmart actually upped its overseas purchasing and increased pressure on its suppliers to reduce costs, even if that meant outsourcing at our economy’s expense.
MR - Let’s assume that you and AAM are correct. In fact, let’s stipulate that every single negative thing you have to say about Walmart is completely valid and totally true. The question remains: Do you or don’t you want Walmart to invest in the US economy? Do you or don’t you believe the country would be better off if other big companies followed suit? I’m on the record with an affirmative “Hell yes!” I don’t think my support of a positive message is an indication that I’ve gone over to the dark side. Of all people, your supporters should be behind this campaign. Because the very notion that “Work is a Beautiful Thing” fosters a fundamental appreciation for labor. That’s really important. Without a broad-based appreciation for hard work, organizations like yours face an uphill climb.
JWJ - Of course, we agree that Walmart should invest in products made in the United States, but manufacturing is just a small piece of the puzzle, given that the company employs 1.4 million people in this country and sets standards for the entire retail economy.
MR - Your agenda is showing. You’re trying to shift the conversation away from the message of the ad. And for what it’s worth, you’re succeeding. But you’re also dramatically minimizing the importance of manufacturing. Retail jobs only exist because somewhere, people are making things that other people want to buy. I believe those things ought to be made here in the US. And I also believe that a manufacturing renaissance will require Walmart’s support, whether you like it or not. As you say, they’re too big to ignore. And if you’re correct that Walmart “sets standards for the entire retail economy,” isn’t it possible that other retailers might follow suit? Wouldn’t that be something to encourage?
JWJ - That’s why Walmart also needs to rebuild America by investing in the workers it already employs.
MR - I suppose we could talk at length about what Walmart “needs” to do. But personally, I’m pretty sure they’ll proceed irrespective of our opinions. All I can do is encourage the behavior I want to see more of. Therefore, I want to participate in messages that promote hard work, skilled labor, and American manufacturing. But that doesn’t mean I have to agree with every thing else they do.
JWJ - Change at Walmart doesn’t start with an ad campaign, it starts with the actual workers who are a core part of Walmart’s success and yet are subject to low wages, erratic scheduling, dwindling benefits and retaliation when they try to raise these issues with their bosses. Without recourse or a voice at work, these associates are trying to call attention to the harsh realities of working at Walmart however they can.
MR - Does that include pitting me against the American Worker? Look - I’ve offered to help in the best way I can. I’ve established a work-ethic scholarship program for people who want to better their lives in a meaningful way. And I’m trying to encourage a greater investment in American manufacturing. Isn’t that fundamentally good for the people you represent? I’m not your enemy. But thanks to your tactics, thousands of people are now convinced that I am. Do you honestly believe that’s helpful?
JWJ - That’s why they want to sit down with you; so they can explain why this ad and your defense of the company don’t match up to their experiences working there.
MR - “Defense of the company?” See what I mean? Exactly what “defense” are you talking about? From the very beginning I have maintained that every single criticism leveled at Walmart is worthy of a serious conversation. I’ve stipulated to every point you’ve made, and accepted every criticism you’ve voiced. You simply don’t want to acknowledge that. Because your strategy only works if I’m portrayed as a “Defender of Walmart.” Only then - and for the sake of some kind of imaginary “balance” - can you make the argument that I should “listen to other side.” Look closer, and you’ll see that haven't chosen sides at all. The only one I’m defending is me.
JWJ - We’re not asking you to take sides between Walmart and its employees, we’re simply asking that you hear another side of this story – the one that the ad you narrated isn’t telling.
MR- Again - we don’t disagree on the outcome. We both want workers to be happy and satisfied in their jobs. We just disagree on the approach. I’m focused on positive messages that encourage US manufacturing and scholarships for people who want to get trained for skills currently in demand. And while I’m always happy to meet new people, I’m pretty sure this little back and forth will do more good for your members than a private meeting.
JWJ - In truth, we actually reached out to you because of your foundation and the great work it does in helping train and educate working people.
MR - Thank you. That’s kind of you to say, and I’m serious about helping any of your supporters or members get trained for a better job. In fact, we’re announcing another million dollars of scholarships on Monday, and a new partnership with one of the best trade schools in the country. I’ll post the press release right here tomorrow.
JWJ - We are big supporters of apprenticeships and the skilled trades, but your claims that retail jobs are increasingly obsolete – and therefore not worth the time and investment to improve – is way off base.
MR - I meant no offense. I was just trying to make the point that people who feel genuinely unappreciated and mistreated by their employer should be encouraged to look for something better. There are too many other great opportunities worth exploring to stay in a job where you feel disrespected.
JWJ - In fact, retail workers – the ones who work at Walmart and other stores (and the ones who likely sold you that amazing bathrobe) – belong to one of the fastest growing industries in our country and also one of the lowest paid. Those jobs are the product of a much larger problem: the way big, profitable corporations protect their bottom line at the expense of their workforce. So while we applaud the efforts of your foundation, it’s quite unlikely those efforts will address these systemic issues and actually help people who work at Walmart.
MR - mikeroweWORKS is a modest foundation with modest resources. We’re not equipped to tackle the “systemic issues” you describe, or bring powerful corporations to their knees. I don’t have thousands of people standing by to write letters, or the support of various outside groups. mikeroweWORKS focuses on helping individual workers find better opportunity elsewhere. As for my amazing bathrobe, I weaved that myself on a loom I keep in the attic.
JWJ - Jobs With Justice is working to create an economy that doesn’t have to rely on the generosity of people like you and the work of your foundation – private companies like Walmart can and should pay their workers enough to make ends meet.
MR - I wish you every success in your endeavor. Personally, I’m hopeful that a bigger investment in US manufacturing will lead to opportunities that allow the ends to do more than simply “meet.”
JWJ - Our guess is that if you actually sat down with Walmart associates, they’d tell you that what would help them is being paid more and being paid fairly, so they could not only support themselves and their families without relying on public assistance, but could also invest in their own education and future and create their own opportunities.
MR - My guess is that you’re absolutely, positively, 100% correct. Which once again begs the question - why summon me to a meeting in the first place? If we all know what the workers are going to say, and if you really don’t want me to choose a side, then what’s the real purpose behind 9,000 identical letters all sent to same address? I’m contacted everyday by a lot of worthwhile groups who would like to meet about one thing or another. But none of them have resorted to badgering my staff and filling my Facebook page with loaded questions and unfounded accusations. I want the workers you represent to understand that I’m sympathetic to their plight, and willing to help them. And I want your supporters to understand that your tactics have done nothing but assure the opposite of your stated objective.
JWJ - Even without our emails, you’ve drawn some incredible attention to yourself as it relates to this issue.
MR - Yeah - incredible sums it up nicely. Sellout, shill, hypocrite...it's a PR Bonanza! Truth is, in spite of all the negativity and personal attacks, the controversy that followed the commercial has given me an opportunity to highlight the things that are important to me and my foundation. So far, totally worth it. Funny part is, the people who most despise Walmart have done the most to elevate this relatively modest hoo-ha into a full-blown story that’s touched every form of media hundreds of times over. It’s pretty extraordinary. Walmart haters have given the company millions of dollars of free publicity.
JWJ - All we’re asking is that Walmart workers have a chance to have their voices heard as well.
Jobs With Justice
MR - Respectfully, I don’t believe you. You don’t really want a private meeting with Walmart employees. You want a press opportunity, and I don’t blame you. Your job is to further your own agenda, and Jobs With Justice needs publicity as much as mikeroweWORKS. But be of good cheer - the dialogue we’re having now will do more to highlight your issues than all the “listening sessions” in the world.
With equal Respect,
PS. What with all this respect in the air, I’d kindly request that you encourage your supporters to ease up on the hate and negativity, at least on Facebook. Lot’s of kids visit here, along with a certain mother who is now convinced a certain son is about to join the ranks of “the disappeared.”
- A lot of nice people have said a lot of nice things over the last few days, and I really do app
(Type: video | Published: 2014-03-01T19:15:33+0000 | Likes: 0 | Shares: 272)
The Real Mike Rowe: A lot of nice people have said a lot of nice things over the last few days, and I really do appreciate the support. This however, really takes the (wedding) cake. Apparently, my name came up in a “pre-marital conversation with Pastor Jim.” I’m not sure what all was discussed, but Patrick and Stefanie were apparently cleared for take-off, and are now in the process of living happily ever after. Here’s a brief clip from their ceremony, with some advice from the pulpit I never thought I’d hear. Ever.
- Sprinkled in with all the recent national press were a few modest interviews about my one-page
(Type: photo | Published: 2014-02-27T18:06:10+0000 | Likes: 0 | Shares: 1293)
The Real Mike Rowe: Sprinkled in with all the recent national press were a few modest interviews about my one-page book, "Profoundly Disconnected, A True Confession From Mike Rowe." They were arranged by Caterpillar's ad agency. As some of you know, Cat paid for the initial publishing run, which means all the proceeds go directly to the mikeroweWORKS Foundation. As in, every penny. Perhaps for that reason, my friends at Cat thought they could mess with me in fairly elaborate fashion. Which they did. And which I appreciate. Follow the link, scroll down to “Weekly Book of the Month Club,” and embrace the awkwardness.
PS. Cat paid for the book because they have thousands of great job opportunities that people don't seem to know about. If you're looking for work in the skilled trades, check 'em out. ]http://www.cattechjobs.com/?utm_source=MikeRoweBooks&utm_medium=Banner&utm_campaign=WorkReady The jobs in question look an awful lot like work, but I have it on excellent authority that Work is a Beautiful Thing. So go out and get beautiful. Not to mention, you can make six figures after a short while, and Cat will often train you for free. I’m told that most of my own staff are filling out applications...
PPS. Get your copy of Profoundly Disconnected toot suite. We only printed 5,000 and they're going quick. (My mom wrote the forward, and it'll make her happy.)
- I’m back. Three days of press, five hours of sleep, four bottles of wine, a speech, a job off
(Type: photo | Published: 2014-02-25T03:00:22+0000 | Likes: 0 | Shares: 2578)
The Real Mike Rowe: I’m back. Three days of press, five hours of sleep, four bottles of wine, a speech, a job offer, 5,000 form letters, and a couple of good-natured death threats. All because of a commercial that I narrated about American manufacturing paid for by Walmart. Press tours are fun!
Oscar Wilde said, “the only thing worse than people talking about you is people not talking about you.” I don’t know that I agree with Oscar, but one things for sure - there’s no such thing as “free press.” I just goggled myself and the results are too rich to ignore. Lets start with this journalistic masterpiece from Matt Hardigree. http://jalopnik.com/ford-drops-shill-for-the-oppressors-mike-rowe-from-truc-1526805143
“Shill for the Oppressors!” Is that not fantastic? I should make new business cards. I’m sure Matt’s a swell guy, but unfortunately, he’s so eager to report on a story that doesn’t exist he’s resorted to a career in fiction. Matt believes that my recent work with Walmart drove The Ford Motor Company to fire me after seven years of service. He sees some sort of conspiracy at work in a recent Ad Age article, where according to him, every one played just “a little too nice.”
Sorry Matt - here are the facts. Ford didn’t “drop” me. We had serious discussions about another extension but decided not to proceed for reasons completely benign. We parted amicably long before the Walmart ad came along. A simple phone call to Ford would have confirmed that. Or, you could have done some really deep digging, and called me. People do it all the time, especially when they’re interested in geting the facts.
Bottom line - We “played nice” in Ad Age because the people involved are all, well...nice. I’m just at a point in my career where I want to associate myself with messages that speak directly to the issues that are important to me. That’s why the Walmart ad was so appealing. A $250 billion investment in US manufacturing is worth talking about, and very much in keeping with the goals of my own foundation. If any other “Oppressors” are looking to make a similar investment in America, drop me a line. I’m happy to “shill” for any company that get this country back to work.
Also in Matt’s piece, was a link to this little gem.
This piece comes from CBS News. Check out the photo. It’s a rare image of me in a suit a tie, and conveys all the sincerity of an ambitious vacuum cleaner salesman at the annual Hoover convention. Nice. Below the photo, the writer - Aimee Picchi - attributes the following question to me. “Who gives a crap about your feelings toward Walmart?” Unfortunately, Aimee leaves out the most important part, which for the record was this: “For that matter, who gives a crap about MY feelings? Isn’t the business of making things in America an initiative we can all get behind?”
Along with that omission, and the clever use of words like “hawk,” “tout,” and “spokesman,” the reader is left to believe that I’ve been empowered to speak on Walmart’s behalf in some sort of official capacity. In fact, I have not. I’m doing this because I want to encourage other companies to make similar investments in American manufacturing. That’s it.
Of course, I’m not the only one with an agenda, and Aimee knows it. Ori Korin is a spokesperson for “Jobs with Justice,” and she’s trying very hard to persuade people that Walmart is treating its workers unfairly. Aimee quotes Ori as being disappointed with my decision to work with “a company as notorious as Walmart.” Ori also believes I was “too quick to dismiss” the workers she represents.
Of course, I was already well-aware of Ori’s disappointment with me. To date, Jobs with Justice has carpet-bombed my office with 5,048 form letters, imploring me to sit down with “real Walmart employees” and listen to stories about how unfairly they have been treated. Naturally, Aimee points this out to her readers, and even provides a helpful link to the Jobs with Justice Letter Writing Campaign, so that other objective citizens might continue to overwhelm my modest staff with additional expressions of carbon-copied concern. (Thanks Aimee!)
My response to all this? According to Aimee -
“Rowe didn’t immediately return a request for comment.”
Well Aimee, please allow me to address your request with all due speed. My office has no record of a call from you or anyone at CBS. I've checked three times. Nothing. Of course, if you sent an email to my Foundation, it may very well be buried in the mountain of form letters currently straining the resources of mikeroweWORKS. Which brings me to Ori Korin, and Jobs for Justice. In the spirit of their chosen method of communication, I’ll respond directly and openly.
You’ll be pleased to know that my office has received your letter, and 5,048 others just like it. While I’m sympathetic to your objectives and sensitive to the needs of your members, I must say that your tactics have had the same effect as a flood of telemarketing calls during my dinner, or a bag of dog crap set ablaze on my front porch. Now, instead of overseeing scholarship applications and other Foundation matters, my already beleaguered staff must sift through a sea of robo-letters in search of legitimate correspondence from hard-hitting investigative journalists like Matt & Aimee.
It’s a little ironic, don’t you think? On the one hand, Jobs with Justice is concerned that everyday people are being overwhelmed by heavy workloads. But you don’t think twice about flooding an unsuspecting non-profit foundation with and endless stream of form letters. Anyway, my answer to you is the same as it was after I got your first letter a week ago. You guys are in a labor dispute, and my foundation doesn’t take sides between employers and employees. Another 5,000 form letters won’t change my position on that - though it just might inspire my the nice woman who oversees my Foundation to throw herself out the window. (Her name is Mary, by the way, and her demise is now on you.)
Let me really spell this out though, so there’s no confusion at all. I care about the people you represent. That’s precisely why I set up a foundation and a scholarship fund. I’m trying to encourage hardworking people who are unhappy in their jobs to make a meaningful change in their life. A lasting change. And I believe this change is most likely to occur when people are willing to learn a skill that’s in demand. Happily, worthwhile opportunities are everywhere. Our country has a massive skills gap, and the chance to retool and retrain has never been better.
We’re not enemies, Ori. We’re just fighting different battles. You’re trying to wring out a modest increase for people who feel unappreciated by their employer and unhappy in their work. I’m trying to get those same people excited about possibilities and opportunities that go beyond their current positions. Frankly - and I say this with all due respect - I don’t believe that your strategy is in the long-term interest of your members, or for that matter, anyone who wants to improve their lives in a meaningful way.
Think about it, Ori. Many of the workers you represent have jobs that could very well become obsolete in just a few years. Automation, technology, automatic checkouts...the writing is on the wall. But the skilled trades are different. Welders, auto technicians, carpenters, masons, construction workers, healthcare...these opportunities are real, and the rewards go far beyond the minimum wage - whatever that might turn out to be. Walmart may have cornered the market on retail jobs, but the world's a lot bigger than Walmart.
Anyway, I want to help. Please forward your members this link. http://profoundlydisconnected.com/the-mikeroweworks-foundation-scholarship-opportunities/
Surely, if you’ve got time to send five thousand identical letters to the same email address, you’ve got time to pass this on to your members. But do me a favor - just send it once. People hate form letters.
Finally, I found a piece that literally drips with sanity and common sense. http://ivn.us/2014/02/20/defense-mike-rowe-stop-saying-represents-wal-mart/?utm_source=ivn&utm_medium=listing&utm_campaign=opt-beta-v-1-0
This comes from a guy named Shawn Griffiths over at The Independent Voter Network, and I appreciate every single sentence. My own bias aside, Shawn’s analysis is completely correct, and if I were King of the World, this would be required reading for any journalist that wanted to discuss recent events. If you’ve come this far, please give it a look.
PS If you’re late to the party or just a glutton for detail, my office has set up a press page with some photos and links to some of the recent appearances. http://profoundlydisconnected.com/about-mike/press/
- Underneath my fridge
Neither fresh nor cold.
(Type: photo | Published: 2014-01-08T17:06:19+0000 | Likes: 0 | Shares: 276)
The Real Mike Rowe: Underneath my fridge
Neither fresh nor cold.
- Here's a post guaranteed to annoy almost everybody.
Earlier this morning, I received a call
(Type: photo | Published: 2014-01-23T01:53:30+0000 | Likes: 0 | Shares: 1176)
The Real Mike Rowe: Here's a post guaranteed to annoy almost everybody.
Earlier this morning, I received a call from Glenn Beck’s people, letting me know that The Blaze is popping up on satellite and cable providers all over the country. Big news for them, which I agreed to pass on to you. That conversation however, was interrupted by a call from Bill Mahers people. They called to tell me that Bill had signed one of my Work Smart AND Hard Posters, and invited me to offer it as this weeks official piece of C.R.A.P. (Collectibles, Rare And Precious.)
In and of themeselves, these phone calls are not particularly memorable. But back to back, they create what the shrinks call "cognitive dissonance." Not unpleasant, just unusual. How often I wonder, in the history of the world, have Glenn Beck and Bill Maher reached out to the same guy at the same time?
As some of you may recall, Glenn and Bill are both fans of mikeroweWORKS, and each gave me a platform to discuss my foundation on their shows. Which I appreciate, very much.
So, if you want to know how to get The Blaze, click here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrK2AQhEwZw&feature=youtu.be
If you want to bid on a poster signed by Bill and me, click here. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=261380401375
And if you want to preserve the possibility of a really weird moment in modern telephony, do NOT ignore your caller ID.
PS As always, the money raised goes to support a variety of trade school initiatives, including work ethic scholarships.
PPS As you'll can see, I've not yet signed it the poster, but I will just as soon as I get back to the office. (Also, the lower corner is slightly wrinkled. Not much I can do about that. It is, after all...C.R.A.P.)
- This post is about a friend of mine that most of you have seen but none of you will recognize.
(Type: photo | Published: 2014-01-27T17:34:12+0000 | Likes: 0 | Shares: 2604)
The Real Mike Rowe: This post is about a friend of mine that most of you have seen but none of you will recognize. Her name is Jill Brown. Jill is a professional stuntwoman. One of the best. Her resume is nearly as long and schizophrenic as my own, and she’s even more of a smart-aleck. (If the show had been called "Dirty Jobs with Jill Brown," it would probably still be on the air.)
Anyway, Jill called me last April to tell me she had a brain tumor. A big one. How she found it, how she dealt with it, and how it changed her life should be a Movie of the Week. Sadly, they don’t make those anymore. So I'm writing to insist that someone publish her autobiography as soon as possible. Toward this end, I must also insist that Jill get busy writing it.
I say this because Jill can do more than fall off buildings and light herself on fire - she can actually write. I just read her very brief account of the stunt that could have killed her but wound up saving her life. Pretty incredible. If you're predisposed to inspirational tales with a touch of irreverence, take five minutes and tell me if you agree.
And if you’re a publisher - don’t be a schmuck. Option the rights, now. I’m telling you, Jill's real life misadventures in Baltimore and Hollywood are low-hanging fruit, and her most recent stare-down with The Grim Reaper is guaranteed to make her memoirs a slam dunk on Oprah and Ellen. This is a Stuntgirl with a story. I’m writting the Foreward now.
PS. The photo was taken in a bookstore somewhere in San Francisco. I can’t be sure, but I think she’s practicing her book-signing technique...
- Top Five Reasons to Never Shave on a Plane!
(Type: photo | Published: 2014-01-29T03:51:05+0000 | Likes: 0 | Shares: 88)
The Real Mike Rowe: Top Five Reasons to Never Shave on a Plane!
- Not quite ready for the big game...
(Type: video | Published: 2014-01-31T18:48:29+0000 | Likes: 0 | Shares: 56)
The Real Mike Rowe: Not quite ready for the big game...
- While I still maintain that there is no such thing as a "bad job," I will concede that some are
(Type: photo | Published: 2014-02-02T17:43:31+0000 | Likes: 0 | Shares: 93985)
The Real Mike Rowe: While I still maintain that there is no such thing as a "bad job," I will concede that some are better than others.
- Heads up. The Devil's in Long Beach. He's dressed as a raccoon, and trying to dig a tunnel into
(Type: photo | Published: 2014-02-05T15:09:38+0000 | Likes: 0 | Shares: 61)
The Real Mike Rowe: Heads up. The Devil's in Long Beach. He's dressed as a raccoon, and trying to dig a tunnel into my hotel room.