Why Mike Rowe Thinks About ‘Everybody Else in the World’ When Times Gets Tough

by Josh Lanier

Mike Rowe, the former host of Dirty Jobs, said the hardest job he ever had to do for the show was work on a concrete mixer. That’s because they have to jackhammer out the hardened concrete that sticks to the inside of the drum, which takes hours. So, whenever he’s having a bad day, he thinks back to the men and women working those jobs for inspiration.

Rowe was speaking with 7-year-old journalist Emmy Eaton, who works for East Idaho News. She has a segment called 7 Questions with Emmy where she speaks with family members, celebrities, and local leaders about life lessons.

She asked Mike Rowe what keeps him from quitting a difficult job.

“For one thing, you have to remember what everyone else in the world is doing. It’s not just you,” Rowe opined. “So, like with that concrete truck, for instance, I worked all day on that truck, about 12 hours. It was a very long day. But the very next morning, I got on a plane, and I flew to another place, and I did a different job. But those guys who work on the concrete trucks — they came back the next morning and did the same thing. And then they did it the day after that, and the day after that, and the week after that, and the month after that.

“So, you’re right, I don’t quit, but I get to do something most people don’t do — I get to go to a new job every day. A different job. So, for me, it’s a little easier because things are always new. And, honestly, the reason I don’t quit is because people watch my show, and they like my show, and they send me nice letters, and they say you should keep doing it. So, I keep doing it because I’m lucky to work on a show that people actually watch. … It’s nicer to work on shows that people watch than don’t watch,” he added with a wry smile.

Mike Rowe Tells His Most Embarrassing TV Moment

Long before Mike Rowe was known as an advocate for the everyman, he was a QVC pitchman. There are many differences between cleaning a septic tank on Dirty Jobs and hawking products. But both had their challenges.

For example, Rowe remembered a time while working on his late-night QVC show when things went very badly.

“I had just eaten a really large burrito, and it wanted to come out. But I was on live (TV),” Mike Rowe told Emmy.

He tried his best to get the director to notice his clear discomfort and send him some help. Maybe the mics would pick up the rumbling in his stomach. But no such help came.

Thankfully, he made it through the segment and got to a bathroom. Unfortunately, his mic was still on, and this time everyone did hear.

“Lots of people heard a lot of bad sounds,” Mike Rowe laughed.

To make matters more cringeworthy, Rowe was singing a song from the stage musical Oklahoma! as he did his business. Rowe laughs it off now, but it took a very long time for him to not shrink with humiliation when he thought of that moment.