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By Joan Janzen

A graduation ceremony was described as an event where the commencement speaker tells students dressed in identical caps and gowns that ‘individuality’ is the key to success.

As the time for graduation draws near, the services of a commencement speaker are unnecessary, since formal graduation ceremonies are not in the immediate future. However, this minor detail has not prevented the airing of an unsolicited commencement speech on social media, delivered by Mike Rowe.

Mike was the host of the show “Dirty Jobs” which aired for eight seasons. He was well known for performing difficult, strange, often disgusting or messy occupational duties, accompanied by regular employees. Now he has a foundation which offers scholarships for trade schools and he says, “Dirty Jobs has become weirdly relevant.”

“All work is noble and all jobs are essential, but not all jobs are secure.” Mike said. “When things go back to normal, this world will enter a new age of making and fixing and building things. An age where skilled workers are going to be in demand like never before. Combine a burning curiosity to learn all that you can, a disposition to travel, a willingness to get dirty, and an entrepreneurial spirit, and your opportunity to prosper has never been better. Our obscene love affair with credentials is going to stop.”

Grads may dawn identical caps and gowns for school photos, but each one possesses different abilities. Mike debunks the myth that people “settle for trade school” because they don’t have what it takes to go to university.

He said he could introduce thousands of people who received scholarships from his foundation and enjoyed successful careers as mechanics, welders and in other trades. “They proved that hard work and mastery of a skill that’s in demand can lead to a prosperous life. Their success is way more persuasive than anything I can tell you.”

“Practice your craft every day. Become indispensable. Show up early, stay late and be proud of the path you have chosen.” Mike advised. “Don’t dismiss the liberal arts just because the cost is scandalous. You have access to everything in the lecture halls of the finest universities right on your smart phone. Be curious about everything and use the tools at your disposal to satisfy your curiosity.”

In his forthright manner, Mike added, “Thanks for resisting the temptation to borrow vast sums of money that guarantees you nothing but having to pay it back. Thanks for pursuing a skill that’s in demand.”

Mike showed a clip of a welder who flipped up her welding helmet to reveal a pretty young girl, who smiled and said, “A lot of people say it’s a man’s job … Don’t be the best female welder, be the best welder and you can’t be denied.”

A comment posted after Mike’s talk said, “I spent 47 years as a high school teacher and I totally agree with everything you just said.” It’s a comment that speaks volumes.

You can contact Joan Janzen at joanjanzen@yahoo.com

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