Mike Rowe Explains How Pandemic Changed Meaning of ‘Essential Worker’

by Taylor Cunningham
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Mike Rowe used to believe his docuseries “was the granddaddy of essential work shows.” But in 2020, the definition of essential was redefined.

For nearly two decades, Mike Rowe highlighted America’s front-line workers in Dirty Jobs. Rowe hoped that the series would bring attention to underappreciated professions. And in turn, make society realize how “essential” the jobs were.

But when the COVID pandemic hit two years ago, his “own relationship with essentiality’ changed.

To slow the spread of the virus, governments decided to shut down certain industries and sectors. The only people who were allowed to head to work each day were those deemed “essential.”

But as Rowe told Fox 11’s Marla Tellez, labeling certain jobs as unnecessary made him rethink the importance of every profession—even those that society doesn’t necessarily rely on.

“If you really look at what happened to our economy, when you tell a certain sector of workers that they’re essential, what you’re saying to everybody else in no uncertain terms is that you’re not essential. And so, what happens when you tell millions of people that the work they do doesn’t really matter? Well, nothing good, right?” he said. “Because everyone’s essential to somebody, even if it’s just themselves, which means all jobs matter.”

When Dirty Jobs first aired, its “whole mantra was to go where the work is done out of sight and all too often out of mind.” And as the series moves forward with its reboot, Mike will stick with that message. However, he’ll never unintentionally demean other professions along the way.

“But I’m also out in the world,” he continued, “I think with a new understanding that any legitimate way to earn a buck in 2022, is going to be deemed essential.”

You Can Now Toast Mike Rowe’s Granddad with Knobel Tennessee Whiskey

Mike Rowe is celebrating a big year. Dirty Jobs is getting a reboot, his song Santa’s Got a Dirty Job is outperforming Adele on the Billboards, and “Knobel Tennessee Whiskey is here.”

On Instagram, the Discovery Channel host announced his new spirits line.

“We’ve had some supply chain issues. But at long last, Knobel Tennessee Whiskey is here. And I am in a celebratory mood,” he said in a video clip. “So perhaps you’ll join me in a virtual drink. Carl Knobel was my granddad, and Dirty Jobs was a tribute to him. So, too, was Mike Rowe WORKS. So, 100 percent of the net proceeds go to the Mike Rowe WORKS Foundation when you buy a bottle of Knobel.”

Rowe hopes all his fans can get the drink in time for Christmas because he crafted a “great gift set’ for the occasion.

If you’d like to support WORKS, head to knobelspirits.com. Then, add your name to the mailing list so Mike Rowe can ship your Knobel Whiskey ASAP.

Outsider.com