QOTD: Concrete Floor

 

deVOL Shaker kitchen, Balham, London

Tim Allen:] There’s a big concrete tank at the top of my hill that loads up with grey water and then flows out the drains and eventually comes down my driveway. And there’s always guys in there digging something out, and there’s a big device on the side that’s coated in tar. And I just see the top of their heads.

“Hey guys.”

“Hey Mr. Allen, what’s going on?”

“So is the cistern  . . .  ?”

“Yeah, it’s loaded up.”

I’m thinking, what a horrible job, and they’re smiling, pulling I don’t know what out of this thing. One day I was joking about “I bet a lot of women are pissed they don’t have this job, right?”

They all went “What?”

You know, like the glass ceiling, this is the concrete floor. A lot of women are going, how come we don’t get to do this?

I was kidding around, and he said, “I don’t think women would want to do this.”

They’re shoveling crap out, and it got me to thinking about, there was no judgment about it. It was a moment of clarity about what I admire about men. Eventually we will be doing the dirty jobs. That’s what we will be doing, putting tar on ceilings [roofs], digging out sewers.

— Tim Allen on Mike Rowe’s “The Way I Heard It,” episode 221

Mike Rowe has a great weekly podcast, usually posting on Tuesday, available as audio on podcasting platforms and as a YouTube channel. He has transitioned from short stories, inspired by Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story,” to long-form interviews with interesting people. Recently, he had on actor Tim Allen, comic and star of small and big screen. They both built successful careers around a television series of working with your hands, Allen with “Home Improvement” and Rowe with “Dirty Jobs.” As it turns out, they both genuinely admire and promote what Rowe styles “dirty jobs” and what Allen characterizes as “fixing things.”

Rowe has been especially active in promoting the skilled trades as viable and remunerative careers. He delights in pointing to a tradesman making six figures. He started doing so after The Atlantic peddled the leftist, new upper-class, big ed lie that you have to go to college if you want to prosper: “Welding Won’t Make You Rich.” Here is Rowe’s short-form response:

See his interview with Chloe Hudson, “Duchess of the Trades,” a master welder.

In case you did not notice, Hudson is a girlie woman and obviously celebrates this. See her welders’ helmet art. So, this is not about a boys club. However, the advocacy for and against “dirty jobs” and the skilled trades happens to also align with the battle of the sexes in our culture. Men are being driven out of college by K-12 teachers and the whole higher education cadre, administrators and professors. This especially applies to young white men, the scapegoats of the entire intersectional edifice.

James Lileks recently celebrated a truly small business owner, a cobbler, a shoe leather wizard, who got out of the gutter of drug addiction and found great meaning and self-reliance in a trade that serious businesspeople do not think of until their grown-up business footwear needs repair. Go read “The Duration: Conclusion.” Consider the real importance of jobs, from plumbing to concrete work (ask Ricochet member @Concretevol). 

It seems to me that the lack of push toward equal representation in certain dirty jobs, the lack of a narrative about women breaking through the concrete floor while complimenting women breaking through the glass ceiling, is more than aversion to backbreaking, dirty jobs. It seems more about class snobbery, a denigration of physical labor and the skill-training programs that do not facilitate ideological indoctrination.


The image at the top of the post shows a kitchen with concrete floor and glass ceiling. The kitchen is featured by deVOL, a British furniture company.

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  1. Nohaaj Coolidge
    Nohaaj
    @Nohaaj

    Awesome post.  Mike Rowe is a hero in our house, and now so is Chloe! 

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Mike Rowe is terrific! I love when he’s interviewed, and I especially appreciate all he’s done to promote the trades. He’s a really good man. (I also enjoy his narration of the TV show, “The Deadliest Catch.” Tim Allen is a good guy. I’ll try to come back to listen to the interview. Thanks!

    • #2
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Clifford A. Brown:

    I’m thinking, what a horrible job, and they’re smiling, pulling I don’t know what out of this thing. One day I was joking about “I bet a lot of women are pissed they don’t have this job, right?”

    They all went “what?”

    You know, like the glass ceiling, this is the concrete floor. A lot of women are going, how come we don’t get to do this?

    I was kidding around and he said “I don’t think women would want to do this.”

    Life in a nutshell.

    • #3
  4. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    Yes, there is certainly a lot of class snobbery there. Also I think it’s that women really don’t want to do paid work in uncomfortable or dangerous environments. They want safe office jobs. In my first post-college job, one of my female colleagues moved out of her field-work/site-visit role in our engineering firm because she was pregnant or planning to be. I used to travel for work all the time before kids, but arranging travel with kids was so hard. A lot of the jobs that require you to be on-site somewhere don’t have convenient hours that allow you to take a child to daycare or school before work.

    • #4
  5. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    👍👍

    • #5
  6. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Lilly B (View Comment):

    Yes, there is certainly a lot of class snobbery there. Also I think it’s that women really don’t want to do paid work in uncomfortable or dangerous environments. They want safe office jobs. In my first post-college job, one of my female colleagues moved out of her field-work/site-visit role in our engineering firm because she was pregnant or planning to be. I used to travel for work all the time before kids, but arranging travel with kids was so hard. A lot of the jobs that require you to be on-site somewhere don’t have convenient hours that allow you to take a child to daycare or school before work.

    Some years ago there was a push for some type of pay equity in which feminists purported to compare skills and training required for female-dominated job categories and male-dominated job categories, and demanded that the female-dominated job categories pay the same as the male-dominated categories. But, they were trying to equate, for example, the female-dominated job of bookkeeper (climate controlled office, sitting in a chair with a clean desk and equipment) with the male-dominated job of diesel engine mechanic (garage that may or may not have any attempt at climate control, or perhaps outside, oil, grease, dirt, etc., crawling under, over, and around trucks and equipment, and so forth). The people pushing that agenda just wouldn’t get that the physical work environment might matter in the job choices people make. 

    I knew a high school aged girl who was annoyed that her boy peers made more money mowing lawns than she made babysitting. So, at her father’s urging, she started mowing lawns so she could make more money. But that meant being out in the sun, the hot weather, and pushing and fixing equipment, rather than sitting inside air conditioned houses. In the opposite direction, we had an independent contractor house cleaner whose husband was a landscaper. The husband tired of always being out in the weather, so he teamed up with his wife in the house cleaning business so he could work indoors.

    Finally, some very high percentage of workplace deaths and serious injuries are suffered by men. Typically those men are working in dangerous jobs (construction, heavy manufacturing, repairing heavy machinery, driving vehicles), and those jobs are male-dominated. 

    • #6
  7. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Lilly B (View Comment):

    Yes, there is certainly a lot of class snobbery there. Also I think it’s that women really don’t want to do paid work in uncomfortable or dangerous environments. They want safe office jobs. In my first post-college job, one of my female colleagues moved out of her field-work/site-visit role in our engineering firm because she was pregnant or planning to be. I used to travel for work all the time before kids, but arranging travel with kids was so hard. A lot of the jobs that require you to be on-site somewhere don’t have convenient hours that allow you to take a child to daycare or school before work.

    Your colleague will earn a different set of rewards in raising a family.  You often have to give somethings up to get what you value more.  

    • #7
  8. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Some years ago there was a push for some type of pay equity in which feminists purported to compare skills and training required for female-dominated job categories and male-dominated job categories, and demanded that the female-dominated job categories pay the same as the male-dominated categories. But, they were trying to equate, for example, the female-dominated job of bookkeeper (climate controlled office, sitting in a chair with a clean desk and equipment) with the male-dominated job of diesel engine mechanic (garage that may or may not have any attempt at climate control, or perhaps outside, oil, grease, dirt, etc., crawling under, over, and around trucks and equipment, and so forth). The people pushing that agenda just wouldn’t get that the physical work environment might matter in the job choices people make.

    I knew a high school aged girl who was annoyed that her boy peers made more money mowing lawns than she made babysitting. So, at her father’s urging, she started mowing lawns so she could make more money. But that meant being out in the sun, the hot weather, and pushing and fixing equipment, rather than sitting inside air conditioned houses. In the opposite direction, we had an independent contractor house cleaner whose husband was a landscaper. The husband tired of always being out in the weather, so he teamed up with his wife in the house cleaning business so he could work indoors.

    Finally, some very high percentage of workplace deaths and serious injuries are suffered by men. Typically those men are working in dangerous jobs (construction, heavy manufacturing, repairing heavy machinery, driving vehicles), and those jobs are male-dominated.

    Can you even imagine Pete Buttigieg working on or opperating the machines that make the Department of Transportation possible?

    He got great media coverage for buying a fixer-upper in South Bend shortly before running for Mayor.  The house was a bit run down and Pete claimed his commitment to fixing it up reflected his commitment to a revival of South Bend.  Beyond a little work on the front porch and an upgrade of the parlor (paint, drapes, etc.), the rest of the house was an FIYer, half-demoed, nighmare.  A local arts foundation purchased the house when Pete was ready to boogie.  Pete gets a financial bailout and the money folks get a tax deduction.  While he can’t work a job, he knows how to work the system.

    • #8
  9. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Clifford A. Brown: As it turns out, they both genuinely admire and promote what Rowe styles “dirty jobs” and what Allen characterizes as “fixing things.”

    Yes, they are often one and the same, and what unites them is the term “necessary.”  They are jobs that must be done, no matter by whom, if we’re to live the lives we’d like to live.

    Clifford A. Brown:

    See his interview with Chloe Hudson, “Duchess of the Trades,” a master welder. In case you did not notice, Hudson is a girlie woman and obviously celebrates this. See her welders’ helmet art.

    Oh, I’ve craved a welding machine (and almost had one, courtesy of a Ricochet member at one time in the past).  However, Mr. She’s parlous cardiac condition, and his pacemaker/defibrillator, scared me off.  Still, it’s about the only thing, in terms of major useful tools,  I don’t have, around here.  (And I consider myself a “girlie woman,” or at least a “girlie old lady,” too).

    Clifford A. Brown: It seems to me that the lack of push toward equal representation in certain dirty jobs, the lack of a narrative about women breaking through the concrete floor while complimenting women breaking through the glass ceiling, is more than aversion to backbreaking, dirty jobs. It seems more about class snobbery, a denigration of physical labor and the skill-training programs that do not facilitate ideological indoctrination.

    Yep.

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    • #9
  10. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    Good post. And I want that kitchen.

    • #10