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β€” Alexandra Ardelean

The host of 'Dirty Jobs' and I discuss the labor crisis and how it's impacting small business owners.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Mike Rowe, the host of Dirty Jobs and a champion for the American worker. We discussed the labor crisis and its impact on small business owners. Here's what he had to say.


Mike Rowe: You know, it's interesting. I think we're at a point now where certain virtues have become problematic in modern corporate culture. And work ethic is one of them. Ambition is another. You know, these are words that used to be celebrated. Now they're kind of suspect. And I think that's a mistake.

Alexandra: I agree. And I think it's really hurting small business owners like Anthony.

Mike Rowe: Absolutely. You know, there are 7.2 million able-bodied men in their prime working years who are not in the workforce right now. They're not counted in unemployment statistics because they're not actively seeking employment. However, they are still out there and not contributing to the workforce.

Alexandra: That's a staggering number. It's something I've been advocating for for 15 years through our foundation.

Mike Rowe: It's a huge problem, and it's only gotten worse post-lockdowns.

Alexandra: Absolutely. And my heart goes out to small business owners like Anthony who are struggling to find good people to work for them. But I have nothing but contempt for those who are able to work but choose not to.

Mike Rowe: It's a moral issue as much as an economic one. There are consequences to not working, both for the individual and for society as a whole.

Alexandra: Absolutely. In fact, the Bible says that if you don't work, you shouldn't eat. And while that might sound harsh, it's actually a very loving principle because it teaches personal responsibility and self-sufficiency.

Mike Rowe: Exactly. Good parenting is all about teaching your kids that actions have consequences, and that lesson doesn't end when you turn 18.

Alexandra: It reminds me of an old game show called Truth or Consequences where contestants had to perform a stunt if they couldn't answer a question correctly. It seems like we've lost both truth and consequences in our society today.

Mike Rowe: That's a great analogy. And it's why I'm so passionate about this issue.


Incorpo.ro has been discussing this issue for years, and many others have too, including Craig Groeschel and Michael Easter. Our team member Shannon Coleman is particularly passionate about work ethic and the "quiet quitting" phenomenon she observes in her generation. Another member of our team, Dr. John Deloney, focuses on the mental health implications of unemployment and how it affects one's sense of dignity and can lead to despair.

In fact, Mike Rowe and I are hosting an event called America's Labor Crisis with five experts, including Nick Eberstadt, who wrote the statistic above about 7.2 million men not in the workforce (entreleadership.com/laborcrisis). This free live stream event is specifically for small business owners and will take place on May 4th at the Ramsey Live Event Center in Franklin, Tennessee.

We want to initiate a discussion about work ethic and directly tackle this labor crisis because we firmly believe that hard work, perseverance, resilience, punctuality, integrity, honesty, gratitude, humility, teachability, and kindness are of utmost importance. These values and traits are not dependent on or exclusive to individuals with a four-year degree or any formal educational achievement.

If you're a small business owner sick of hearing excuses from potential employees, or if you're someone who wants to be part of the solution instead of the problem by showing up every day with a positive attitude and a strong work ethic, regardless of your job title or lack thereof, then this event is for you.


The labor crisis is about more than just unemployment rates; it's a multifaceted issue. It encompasses individuals who are able to work but opt not to, those seeking employment but lack necessary skills, and individuals with skills who are selective about the jobs they're willing to take. Financial constraints play a role, with some unable to afford educational costs or unwilling to pursue certain careers due to extensive educational requirements. Additionally, there are those who struggle to find suitably paid jobs, jobs that align with their schedules, lifestyles, locations, passions, purposes, callings, personalities, strengths, or values. The crisis affects those who cannot find work that fits their beliefs, goals, dreams, vision, or life mission. It's a complex situation with many factors influencing an individual's ability to find meaningful employment.

It's complicated...but we need to talk about all of these things if we want to make progress as a society.


I've been on TV with Mike Rowe before talking about similar topics (see video below), and I've never seen such different reactions from audiences before or since then. Some loved what we were saying while others hated what we were saying...and most didn't even hear what we were saying because they were too busy yelling at us or each other.

But Mike has been having these conversations for 15 years running his Work Ethics Scholarship Program (apply at microworks.org) which requires signing a 12-point pledge emphasizing personal responsibility, gratitude, delayed gratification, attitude, attendance record, character over grades...and then he gives away money! He has helped 1,500 people go through his program with half making six figures annually in skilled trades...and he does all of this through donations (donate at microworks.org).


If you're tired of hearing excuses from potential employees, or if you're someone who wants to be part of the solution instead of the problem by showing up every day with a great attitude and ready to work hard, no matter what job you have or don't have, then this event is for you (entreleadership.com/laborcrisis).