‘Dirty Jobs’ Host Mike Rowe Explains Why Following Your Passion ‘Rarely Works Out,’ Here’s What He Says To Do

by Emily Morgan

We’re always told to follow our passion. However, Mike Rowe wants you to do otherwise.

According to the longtime “Dirty Jobs” host, too many people spend too much time and hard-earned money chasing their passion. Rowe argues that you should seize the opportunity instead.

“If there was a recurring lesson on ‘Dirty Jobs,’ it was to understand how many people we featured on that show that looked like they were doing something that should have made them miserable. However, Rowe says they “were in fact very, very happy in their work. And surprisingly prosperous.”

Rowe, whose Discovery Channel limited series, “Dirty Jobs: Rowe’d Trip,” premiered earlier in the month, says too many of us plan and structure our life around the idea of job satisfaction.

According to Rowe, often, “that plan includes borrowing vast sums of money in order to go to a four-year school to get the degree that will allow you to get to the next step as you seek to get the thing that will make you happy.”

“And now they have to go out into the world to try and get hired into their chosen field,” he added. “And it doesn’t always work out. In fact, it rarely works out.”

Mike Rowe: Search for Opportunity Over Passion

The 59-year-old continued: “That’s part of why we have [over $1.6 trillion in student loans] on the books. I think a lot of people were told that if they borrowed the money to get their degree, then they would wind up with the job that they were passionate about.”

He says that if you believe that there’s only one job that will “satisfy your passion,” you’ll spend most of your time looking.

According to Rowe’s philosophy, finding opportunities in the job market is vital. During his time on “Dirty Jobs,” he met multimillionaires who achieved success by filling a position in the market.

“The truth is, [for] most passionate people on [‘Dirty Jobs’] anyway, [they] weren’t passionate about what they were doing when they started doing it,” Rowe says.

“They simply…learned a skill that was in demand. Then they got hired applying that skill. Then they figured out how to get really, really good at it. And then they figured out how to love it.”

As for the younger generation, Rowe wants them to “keep your mind open” when it comes to pursuing a career.

“We all want to be engaged. We all want to love whatever it is we do,” Mike Rowe admits. “But I don’t know that the best way to do that for a 17-year-old person is to try and identify what they think will make them happy and then borrow whatever it takes to go get it.”

Mike Rowe encourages people to do “what you can to be great” at a skill that is in high demand. “And then [do] what you can to love it. In the end, you still want to wind up passionate about whatever you’re doing. Just a question of the chronology you choose to get there.”