WHY I LOVE DIRTY JOBS IN SALES & MARKETING
“Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity.” – Chuck Jones
I recently got hooked on Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” with Mike Rowe and started binge-watching episodes.
I have never watched this show before and love it. Yes, I’m late to the party because I cut my cable cord a long, long time ago and spend my time writing instead. So now I catch up on episodes with Netflix and Amazon Prime when I can.
I think Mike Rowe is the Studs Terkel of Reality TV. A rebel like Michael Moore.
IT’S A DIRTY JOB… BUT SOMEONE’S GOT TO DO IT
You’ve heard the expression.
The show’s premise was built on it.
But who knew jobs this deplorable ever existed. It took host Mike Rowe to show us just how horrible and unconscionable some of these jobs really are. If there is one positive aspect of this show and Reality TV, it is that it causes us to trade places and self-reflect with seemingly ordinary people.
Through Mike (Rowe) we get to vicariously get in the trenches with him and ask: what motivates people to wake up and do this job everyday?
Slack-jawed, you say to yourself:
THERE’S GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY
As you watch the program the entrepreneur in you might ask: can’t we invent a machine for this? Automate the process? Eliminate this job altogether?
It’s not that simple. There might not be a better mousetrap or the funds to build it. We learn that many of these jobs are steeped in a rich history and passed down from generations, and there is even pride and happiness in these dirty jobs… And we find something else surprising: millionaires doing the dirty jobs (at least half of them).
The truth is, many of the people featured on Dirty Jobs are entrepreneurs and millionaires.
So a better way for them is the way. It’s as good as it gets.
WHAT DID I GET MYSELF INTO?
Like Mike Rowe, sometimes you might ask yourself this question.
Here is a great anecdote from Mike Rowe at TedTalks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRVdiHu1VCc
How does this apply to sales and marketing you ask? It’s about rolling up your sleeves and getting dirty sometimes. There may be aspects of your job that you just can’t stand, or maybe you started working with a client and find yourself in too deep. Over your head.
Mike has some counter-intuitive insights into the “follow your passions” philosophy. He thinks you shouldn’t follow them, but bring them with you. He debunks clichés like: “Work smart, not hard.”
I applaud contrarian thinkers. Here is a great interview with Rowe:
WHY I WILL NEVER BE A HIGHRISE WINDOW WASHER OR COALMINER
It starts with knowing what you won’t do.
There are limits.
Myself? These are two jobs I would never dream of doing. These jobs require guts I don’t have. They are also dangerous. I applaud the folks who do these jobs, but I know I wouldn’t last a minute. I have a winning combination of acrophobia and claustrophobia.
Not Mike. However, I see Mike as kind of action hero. He’s his own contestant and asks the audience to email him with the dirtiest jobs they could find. He always accepted the challenge and he learned something each time, gleaning new-found respect for the person or vocation left behind when he moved on to the next show.
Here’s the lesson I learned: if I’m not doing something every day that makes me a little uncomfortable and maybe even fearful, I’m not growing. Michael Hyatt pointed that out in a recent blog post and I couldn’t agree more. Check it out here: http://www.amyporterfield.com/2013/12/goal-setting/
We must break out of our comfort zones and challenge ourselves.
WHERE THE DIRTY JOBS ARE IN SALES & MARKETING
Lets not forget that Mike Rowe got his big break on QVC. And what was his job?
I still think, like Brian Tracy, that selling is an honorable profession. If you’re good at it you can make a S#@tload of money and I have.
Some of my dirty jobs on my road to success included: dishwasher, busboy, porter, baker, my own roadie, intern, retail rat, cold calling king in a boiler room, delivery guy for a nursery (one of the worst and most back breaking, delivering a small forest to a wealthy entertainer up in the Hollywood Hills)
My tip for all that dirty work..?
A can of Dr. Pepper.
Did these dirty jobs build character? Absolutely.
They paid off in ways that have helped me become a better leader. It changed my perspective, still to this day, I am respectful to people that try (operative word) in these types of jobs. I will always be hands on (not a micromanager).
Cold Calling is a nightmare to many people, but to this day I’ll cold call anyone in the world. What about a nightmare client? Boss? Retail experience helped me here because I dealt with extreme and sometimes irrational customers. End result: It made me try harder with sales and marketing.
I’M A FOOL TO DO YOUR DIRTY WORK
If you begin hearing this Steely Dan song on a daily basis, maybe it’s time to get out, on the other hand if that is not an option. Try reframing your work. Look at it from a different perspective.
On the other hand, if you work with a CEO that isn’t afraid of Dirty Work, these are the people that really build trust and loyalty in companies.
Richard Branson once said, “Nobody respects a leader who doesn’t know how to get his hands dirty and innovate personally.”
My advice for CEOs and bosses?
Get Dirty once in a while like Mike.
Be an apprentice for an hour. Better yet, a day. Pick up the phone and make some cold calls. Handle an irascible customer. Don’t hide behind social media to handle a complaint. Rack your brains on that new marketing campaign. Celebrate, not only the technologies, but the teams and scores of people that have helped assemble the dream.
HOW TO STAY PROFOUNDLY DISCONNECTED
I’m hooked on Dirty Jobs and will continue to catch up on episodes and I’m glad to see Mike keeps creating awareness about jobs.
Check out Mike’s book http://profoundlydisconnected.com/foundation/book/
What are the some of dirtiest jobs you have ever worked? I’d like to know.