Mike Rowe Explained Why More People Don’t Respect ‘Dirty Jobs’

by Jonathan Howard

When Mike Rowe started to go around the country and show off the dirtiest jobs in America, it shined a light on folks who needed to be celebrated.

Back in 2010, the show had built quite a reputation after seven years on the air. Rowe spoke about what his show Dirty Jobs was meant to do and why people don’t like having a “dirty job”. His thoughts give a bit of insight into the host’s attitude when showing these jobs off.

“Attitudes toward hard work have changed and not for the better. Many people view dirty jobbers with a mix of pity and derision. Some ignore them altogether,” Rowe began. However, one thing is unchanged: People with dirty jobs make civilized life possible for the rest of us. For that reason, I see a willingness to get dirty as a mark of character.”

During the interview with Good Magazine, the host also lamented on society. He said that there was a time when Americans took pride in dirty jobs. However, that isn’t always the case nowadays.

“Once upon a time, we were proud to be dirty. Dirt looked like work, and work was revered. Now, we’ve redefined our notion of what a ‘good job’ looks like. We’ve taken the ‘dirt’ out of the formula, and in the process, marginalized a long list of important professions. Big mistake.”

Looking back from 2021 in a time of truck driver shortages and other issues, these comments seem pretty relevant. Mike Rowe has made a career talking about and shining a light on jobs that are deemed less than. He has shown sewage work, construction work, drivers, fisherman, food industry careers, and so much more.

Mike Rowe Can’t Decide What Job is the Dirtiest

When Mike Rowe was doing Dirty Jobs, he would get in the messiest, stinkiest, and most uncomfortable situations. Hence the name of the show. He has been covered in grease, mud, and much worse. Of course, when you have experienced so many of these jobs, it is hard to say which is the dirtiest.

However, one job that comes to mind when he is asked that question is making bone char. Bone char is a fine powder. It is made from animal bones and used in products such as makeup. Rowe talked about the process of making bone char and why it is such a dirty job.

A company will take the bones and burn them. Once they are burnt enough, that product is ground into the fine powder. The bones are burnt by placing them into a crucible with burning coals surrounding them.

“The substance is like black baby powder, and gets deep into your pores and lungs and pretty much anything else,” Mike Rowe said. “I was unrecognizable by lunch, and not much better after three showers. A week later, I still looked like Adam Lambert.”

How about that Adam Lambert reference? That dates the interview a bit but the point remains. Making bone black or bone char is not for the faint of heart and only for those ready to get dirty.