Monday, May 25, 2020

Mike Rowe's "dirty jobs" commencement speech

This is not bad:

If anything, Koreans ought to listen to Rowe: the peninsula is obsessed with four-year degrees and grad school. The idea of going to a trade school to learn a skilled trade is utterly anathema to a country that idolizes white-collar workers. There are plenty of blue-collar workers in South Korea, but they're made to feel like an inferior caste. Back when I taught at Dongguk University and lived in the Chungmuro neighborhood, I appreciated the fact that the neighborhood was thoroughly blue collar: those good folks all worked for a living, and when they got home from work, they were tired—they just wanted to have a decent dinner, relax a bit, and go to bed. As a result, my old neighborhood, for all its grungy outward appearance, was quiet and sedate, not littered with beer and soju bottles, not noisy with the sounds of overprivileged white-collar assholes drinking and partying. I liked that neighborhood, and honestly, I sometimes want to move back there, right next door to Namsan.

But, yeah: Koreans need to stop obsessing about the white-collar way of life and start looking seriously at high-paying alternatives to the beaten path.

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