Off The Wall: John “Gus” Murray

John “Gus” Murray has graduated from The University of Dirty Jobs – with Honors. He appears to have majored in Bee Keeping, Firefighting, and Crane Operating. The attached note, which I found on my wall a few weeks ago, is not unique. Nor is it uncommon. It does however, challenge the incredibly dangerous notion that opportunity is dead in America. Give it a read, and tell me if you don’t agree.

Mike: I grew up watching Dirty Jobs and watching you show the many ways to make money that no one really thinks about. Towards the end of high-school, I did not have any idea what I wanted to do or be. I chose to go to trade school after watching some episodes of Dirty Jobs, to get knowledge and skill in something that would always be needed. Today, I’m a crane operator, among other things, and this year, I bought my first house at 23. I’m hoping to buy the company out in the next five years.

Half my friends from high school just graduated from college. They live at home now, because they cannot find work in whatever their degree says they’re qualified to do. Meanwhile, I’m tending bees, putting out fires, and operating cranes. That’s me with Chief Goldfeder, honoring one of my fallen firefighter brothers in Emmitsburg Maryland, a few months back at the National Fallen Firefighter Memorial. My side business is called Smoke Eaters Bee Keeping and Removal. And that’s also me in the crane, picking up a yacht at a storage yard to load onto a trailer.

Thank you Mike, for showing me that it’s ok to not go to college. Thanks for showing me it’s still cool to work with your hands, and to work hard in an honest trade. I am thankful for the education you gave me – an education I didn’t even know I was getting me at the time.

John “Gus” Murray

Dear Gus

You’re welcome. However, the education you refer to came from the people we featured on the show – not from me. Like you, I was just a student in their classroom. Good luck in all you do, and tell your Chief his mustache needs a name…


PS. Tell your friends living at home they’ve got three more weeks to apply for a work ethic scholarship. Lot’s of opportunity out there…

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