Follow your passion – Is this the worst job advice ever?

In a recent Sunday Star Times article Mike Rowe of the television show “Dirty Jobs Down Under” put that “follow your passion” is “horrible, horrible advice” for young people about to start their careers.

Instead, Mike Rowe wants more young people to get into trades, grab a dirty and unpopular job and “find a way to love it“.

Job satisfaction from catching toads

Mike Rowe travelled to Australia to try jobs that not many people have a passion for, such as cleaning sewers and catching toads. It is here he learnt that there is money in doing rough jobs and that there is joy in “visual completion” – seeing a physical result of your hard work.

Real jobs are undervalued

Mike believes that there is a “disconnect in society with the definition of a real job”. Students have been encouraged into higher learning to pursue ideal careers. This has devalued hands-on work. The result has seen the odd problem of high unemployment at the same time as a shortage of skilled labour.

Making dirty jobs cool

Mike is now trying to make trades “cool and viable” again. He wants more young people to learn that dirty work can “truly contribute to the greater good”.  The hope is that the popularity of real jobs will end the skill shortage and lower unemployment.

So what do you think?

  • Is follow your passion the worst job advice ever?
  • Do we need to get more real about our job choices?

Watch Mike Rowe talk about dirty jobs on TED

Find out what jobs in New Zealand have a shortage of skilled labour


  1. Evgeniya

    I don’t agree with Mike. People must follow their passion to be happy in life. But I agree that there is the skill shortage. May be we should do something to populate this type of job. And one day somebody will take it as a passion.

  2. alexhartblog

    Personally, I think if you are not passionate about the job you do, then at some point you will become disillusioned, drop out or simply end up resentful of working in a career that does not align with who you are. Mike does have a good point about jobs that are undervalued. Personally I wish all young people were encouraged to try out some “dirty jobs” before or between their further studies. It helps ground them, provides valuable life experience and maybe helps some people appreciate the opportunities they have and help focus on whats important to them. If they end up loving the job, then that’s a bonus!

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