bm226 Dishwasher Pete on Work and Workers

by bicyclemark

In his quest to wash dishes in all 50 states, Pete Jordan was seeking freedom, adventure, free food and whatever peaked his interest. Many of his objectives have to do with the very human desire to find some form of freedom within a structured work place. In this podcast we talk about his experience with work, labor unions, different cultures, and more.

Pete’s website
His Book: Dishwasher

We discuss:

– Pete’s early thoughts on working
– Responsibility, avoiding it
– Freedom to think and quit
– Labor Unions for Dishwashers
– Decline of Labor or the Return of Labor?
– Cultural Differences in the workplace, Netherlands vs US

Dishwasher Pete on the Late Show

by bicyclemark

While it may not qualify as citizen reporting, anyone who’s been reading this blog for some time knows about my friend Dishwasher Pete and his first book that is taking the world by storm. Pete will be a guest on an upcoming podcast where we’ll discuss the world of work, and the future of labor.

For now, though, this being my last saturday in Portugal this summer, I present to you a clip of Pete on the David Letterman Show recently. I think he’s the most refreshing guest they’ve had on that show in years, take a look and see for yourself. (beware, clip is long)

Click To Play

Dishwasher Pete and Personal Politics

by bicyclemark

Last night was one of those classic Amsterdam nights that involved a whole lot of things to do, places to be, and people to spend time with. The kind of night that helps to remind oneself why oneself lives in this place.

The highlight of the evening was attending a reading by my friend Dishwasher Pete, who’s book is flying off shelves everywhere. Over at the American book store, Pete treated the crowd to free artisan brewed beer and an opportunity to ask him questions, get your book signed,and of course – hear him further explain some of the adventures included in the book.

While it is probably often considered comedy or travel if you look it up on some Amazon type site, I see this book as something far more important – political. By political I mean personal-politics, the most important politics one has.

As I read this book it was his personal politics that jumped off the page for me, at least the way I read it. The idea that a job is not the most important thing in your life. Or even beyond that, that no job that makes you miserable should be kept. The power of your feet, to walk out, walk away, and walk on when some force threatens to destroy or damage your mental or physical quality of life. Typical societal values would call such a philosophy “lazy”, but then again, typical society is miserable, in debt, uninspired and hoping to drag everyone else along with them.

Nowadays many of us live the reality of this “new economy”, which is a fancy name for a world where jobs come and go, and people have hardly any employment security or financial guarantee in the future. Hopping from 6 month contract to 6 month contract, accepting low salaries in exchange for the empty promise that it will significantly increase.

Yet being so disposable brings some of the very benefits that Dishwasher Pete realized more than a decade ago; the freedom and power of using your feet. Just as jobs use todays workers, todays workers are learning how to use jobs. They are no longer paranoid of losing their longtime jobs, instead often looking forward to an upcoming resignation. For those that understand and believe in their ability to find something else when needed, like the dishwasher, todays workers can also say goodbye to the irrational or incompetent boss. And of course, there are more and more of us that love to find ways to steal naps or wander off during the day.

My point today is more of a theory. And as I live my day-to-day, I see a connection between Pete’s marvelous thoughts and wisdom, and personal politics of today’s young “professional.”

Or maybe I should just replace the term “young professional” with “ME”.

Dishwasher Wisdom

by bicyclemark

Dishwasher Pete is a friend of mine. Like me, he’s an American who moved to Amsterdam. Like me, he’s also a European of another country living here in Amsterdam. And that is only the beginning of what he and I have in common.

Pete had gotten in touch a few days ago about getting help posting a video from when he was on Letterman. See Pete’s book has just come out, and the buzz coming from both sides of the atlantic is that DISHWASHER is a smash-hit. I’m two chapters in and honestly, I already knew the thing would be good because only inspiring things can come from the mind of such an excellent person.

As I was sorting out the video issues with him, he asked that classic question, “So hows it going.. are you able to live off your website?”…. I’m sure I’m misquoting him, but I know the question well.. as Im lucky enough to have concerned friends everywhere.

But the great part was his answer to my answer. I told him, “At this point, no… no I can’t. But I don’t care, this is what I want to do.” (something to that effect) Pete responds very quickly and calmly with his great brand of wisdom — “Just keep going. Keep doing what you’re doing. Corporations and media groups can’t make the type of connections with an audience that you’re making. Keep going… you’re building something very special…” (again I’m misquoting, but I remember the good parts)

Then I remembered, just as he reminded me… before the whole book thing.. Dishwasher Pete had a zine and a dream. He published a zine and traveled from state to state, washing dishes. He had amazing experiences, and saw the entire US is ways that the average person will never get to. And throughout that experience… plenty of people cast doubt on him… but he kept doing what he was doing.

I digress, Pete is not my idol (though maybe he should be!). But it was his way of reminding me and assessing my goals… one of those moments that reminds me of how far Ive come, and where I’m going.