GOOD: What do you think it means to have a “dirty job,” or a job that most people would not want?
MIKE ROWE: Attitudes toward hard work have changed, and not for the better. Many people view dirty jobbers with a mix of pity and derision. Some ignore them altogether. However, one thing is unchanged: People with dirty jobs make civilized life possible for the rest of us. For that reason, I see a willingness to get dirty as a mark of character.
G: Why don’t more people respect dirty jobs?
MR: Once upon a time, we were proud to be dirty. Dirt looked like work, and work was revered. Now, we’ve redefined our notion of what a “good job” looks like. We’ve taken the “dirt” out of the formula, and in the process, marginalized a long list of important professions. Big mistake.