Wanna Get Rich? Try Working!

April 29th, 2010

I read a book a while back called, “Shop Class as Soulcraft” by Matthew Crawford.  In that book, Crawford set about redefining the concept of “work.”  But the main thing I got out of the book was that our society sees “manual work” as somehow less-than “intellectual work”.

But Crawford argued that most “intellectual work” is actually NOT intellectually stimulating.  Whereas, “maual work” like fixing a motorcycle is.  The reason, Crawford argues  is that you can see the results of your work.

Interesting.  I recommend the book in general but found it rather long.  You can read the original article that spawned the book  here.

But why am I bringing this up?

I do think there is a war on work.  With a rough economy and outsourcing the norm, why is blue collar work seen as “beneath”?  I certainly don’t think it is.  Obviously, you can’t get rich doing “manual work”.  Right?

WRONG! In fact, in the book The Millionaire Next Door, many of the millionaires in the book had jobs like:

  • welding contractors
  • auctioneers
  • rice farmers
  • owners of mobile-home parks
  • pest controllers
  • coin and stamp dealers
  • paving contractors

Hmmm…not what you imagined, was it?

I think a lot of the get-rich-quick crowd is being suckered by this attitude of thinking that manual work is not real work or work for suckers.  Because the work seems “hard”, you won’t see a “wealth coach” tell some guy,

“Hey, buy a lawnmower, print up a bunch of flyers, and cut grass.  Low investment, high return.”

Nope.  They’ll tell them to align vibrations or some other crap. They basically give them a formula to avoid work that seems “hard”, unlike real millionaires that make plenty of money doing work that is “beneath” a lot of people.

The thing is there is value in work.  And I agree that it’s time we start looking at work differently.  Before Crawford’s book, I never thought of fixing a computer (which I can do) as intellectually stimulating.  But I realized it really is.  There’s the problem.  Now, it’s fixed.   Compare that to a marketing campaign I once createdthat I hoped was good but wouldn’t know the results until much later.  Unlike my computer, where the results were instantaneous.

So, I think it’s about time that manual labor gets its due.  And it’s time that people looking to earn a decent living snap out of the dream fantasy that being wealthy means being Donald Trump.  Donald Trump is an entertainer.  Most millionaires are not.   And if you really want to know a “wealth secret” I’ll give you one for free:

Go do a job no one else wants to do.

In fact, stand outside one of those wealth secret seminars and offer to fix their cars or something.  They’ll be so full of hot air from some guy telling them that doing manual work is not what “wealthy people” do that YOU’ll rake in THEIR cash while they sitting around aligning vibrations or developing the “wealth mindset”.

To conclude, I thought I’d add a video of a TED talk by Mike Rowe,  the guy from “Dirty Jobs” where he talks about work.  I found it interesting.


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