Besides lessons on work ethic, Mike Rowe teaches us to read the click bait and not just react and form an opinion around the headline, which is usually bull cookies.
A reader asked Rowe about this article, where a high school girl was allegedly wronged and wanted him to take action. While “blah blah sexism and patriarchy” are great for ignorant page views, Mike Rowe actually read the article, did his own research, and said this…
You’re right – my foundation is very much interested in encouraging young women to explore opportunities in the skilled trades. However, I don’t believe the situation described in this article is cause for a “reward.” Nor do I believe the headline is remotely accurate. From what I’ve learned, a clerical error was made, followed by a breakdown in communication which has lead to a lot of unnecessary confusion and disappointment. That’s all truly unfortunate, and the young woman at the center of this deserves an apology. But from what I can tell, there’s nothing to support the idea that she was a victim of discrimination, or that an unfair outcome has occurred.
Wait… this isn’t the fault of the patriarchy? Mike Rowe says….
Turns out just because someone made a clerical error, someone else shouldn’t be denied a medal. Despite how unfair it is that Shania was falsely given one. Here’s where Mike Rowe comes in with the moral win.
Obviously, Shania should have been alerted to the discrepancy before anyone else. If that didn’t happen, someone should answer for it. But the bigger question now, is what should Shania do? She hasn’t asked me, but if she did, I know exactly what I would tell her. I would tell her to return the Gold Medal at once, along with her sincere thanks for the opportunity to compete, her heartfelt congratulations to the actual winner, and her steadfast resolve to come back next year and kick some serious ass. If I were her, I would make it crystal clear to those petitioning in my name that I had absolutely NO interest in keeping a trophy that was awarded to me by mistake, or competing in a contest for which I didn’t actually qualify.
Exactly. Why would you want to keep a medal which you didn’t actually win? Which you know you didn’t win? A medal is just a symbol of your achievement. But if you didn’t actually earn that achievement, the medal has less utility than a hockey puck. Better to return it to the real winner, then use the opportunity to make yourself better. And no, don’t chuck the medal at the real winner as if it’s a puck. Do not misunderstand the analogy.
The whole point of SkillsUSA, is to better prepare kids for opportunities in the skilled workforce. But employers today are looking for more than skilled workers – they’re looking for workers with character. Returning a Gold Medal she’s entitled to keep in an age where everyone expects a trophy, is a mark of character. Shania will have other opportunities to win all sorts of awards, but she’ll never have a better opportunity to distinguish herself among her peers and potential employers. I hope she takes it.
Because as usual, Mike Rowe is right. And I bet after the sting of loss, Shania would actually feel fantastic returning the medal to the rightful winner. If she chooses to do so. Furthermore, she’d put her name on watch lists for plenty of employers who want someone with moral fiber and gumption. If she took Mike’s sage advice, Shania would’ve lost this bout, but won a greater victory: proving she can lose with grace.
We’re constantly surrounded by entitled little whiny babies. These little toddlers have been told all their life they deserve the best. Perhaps without having earned it. In fact often without having earned it. No one bothered to tell them that sometimes your best isn’t good enough, someone else is better than you at a particular thing. It’s called reality. Sometimes it sucks. But how one chooses to react to loss? That’s where character is made. It matters.