Mike Rowe is known for encouraging his viewers to have a strong work ethic while on the job. Host of "Dirty Jobs" and "Returning The Favor," Rowe has a special scholarship for students wishing to learn various trades and requires them to take a “S.W.E.A.T. Pledge” to work hard to earn it.
Normally, this would be considered uncontroversial, but not to one mother who took umbrage to Rowe requiring her child to have a strong work ethic.
She wrote to Rowe on social media,
Mr. Rowe - I heard about your "work ethic scholarship program," and suggested my son apply. He wants to be a welder! I was appalled though, when he showed me your “sweat pledge,” and told me that signing it was required of all applicants!! Where did you come up with this nonsense? There are so many things wrong with this document I don’t even know where to begin!! Suffice it to say, we will not be applying!!!
Rowe responded: “If it’s any consolation, you’re not the only one to object to my S.W.E.A.T. Pledge, or do so with an over-reliance on exclamation points!! Over the years, it’s been my sad duty to inform lots of angry parents that this particular pile of free money might not be for them, or for their children.”
He offered sincere wishes of success to the woman’s son and encouraged him in his welding endeavors.
“But to be clear,” he said, “I have absolutely no interest in paying for his training if he doesn’t share my opinions on the importance of hard work, a positive attitude, delayed gratification, and personal responsibility. Sorry -- I made a promise to the people who contribute to this fund, and I can't bend the rules. Fortunately, lots of scholarship funds will hand out money with no strings attached, and if you poke around, I’m sure you’ll find one that's more in line with your worldview.”
Rowe added, “I came up with this 'nonsense' about the same time I launched mikeroweWORKS. Back in 2008. I was looking for a way to encapsulate the qualities I value most in a document that would become part of the application process. What I settled on was the S.W.E.A.T. Pledge. It stands for 'Skill and Work Ethic Aren’t Taboo.' Mostly, it’s a collection of beliefs that I think every worker would benefit from embracing.”
Rowe emphasized the need for a strong work ethic and argued that his pledge is not “weighted heavily in favor of employers,” though he defended business owners as hard workers like their employees.
After the recent incident where late night host Jimmy Kimmel made fun of First Lady Melania Trump’s accent, Rowe’s advice on working hard and maintaining a strong work ethic is a breath of fresh air.