Always be proud of what you do…

[Editor’s Note: This article was written by the CTL’s Laurie Hansen.]

Stories connect families and communities.  My boss sent us a touching story from Story Corps with a message that rings true.  Always be proud of what you do and where you come from.

I was a blue collar baby.  I am proud to say that this Ivy League Grad was born into a hardworking family. My parents grew up during the Depression.   I was told stories of how they walked to school, with no shoes, uphill, in the winter!  And when the going gets tough, my dad always said, “A family man should shovel against the tide….”

“Respect, honor, and dignity are pay-offs that go along with supporting your family.”   Mike Rowe says we need to stop our “war on work” and has talked about pride in hard work on TED (Warning:  Part of Mike’s talk is not for the faint of heart, and, thankfully, without graphics.)  Mike also tells about the community he has created to promote hard work and the respect it deserves.  By the way, mikeroweWORKS is not to be confused with Microfinance .

You work it, Mike!

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One response to “Always be proud of what you do…

  1. Jonathan Groves

    Will, Laurie, and others,

    Interesting talk by Mike Rowe on dirty jobs! You’re right in that part of this talk is not for the faint at heart: Some of the imagery he uses is not exactly easy to take. I do wonder how these people can find happiness at some of these jobs. Electricians, plumbers, carpenters–for example–I can see. But castrating lambs as Mike Rowe describes? Scraping roadkill off roads? That I cannot see.

    Okay, I can see scraping roadkill off roads more clearly than the former (the former sounds quite nasty–not just dirty–to me!), but it still puzzles me because people generally do not like jobs in which they feel they don’t accomplish anything worthwhile. Even if many others think their job is not worthwhile but they themselves feel that their work accomplishes something worthwhile, then many will nevertheless still feel a sense of accomplishment. I can feel a sense of accomplishment with my mathematical work even if most others don’t agree with me. But Mike Rowe did confess that he was quite surprised about learning such things.

    I still think that following your passion is a good idea, but if something unexpected comes up later that does turn out to be appealing to you, then go for it, I say! If following your passion lands you a job that you end up not liking after all (which does happen sometimes to some people), then go for something else when you have the chance. Following your passion doesn’t work for everyone simply because our interests can change with time or because our vision of what our dream job is like turns out to be a false vision in that there was some ugliness behind the scenes that we did not originally see.

    I can take some pride in being a mathematician despite that math is a highly unpopular and a very frightening subject to most students, despite that society tends to depict us negatively. A paper I had run across a while back that gives us a good idea of how mathematicians tend to be protrayed negatively in our culture:

    http://www2.hmc.edu/www_common/hmnj/latterell.pdf.

    Is it the math I love that makes me take pride in being a mathematician? Is it because I want to be different and not just another face in the crowd? Or is it both? I believe it is both.

    Jonathan Groves

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