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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Finding the perfect job

The other day I came across Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' 2005 commencement address to Stanford University. One portion in particular stuck out to me.:
Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking and don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.

So keep looking. Don't settle.
This reminded me of something my wife told me when we were dating and she's often repeated since. She hadn't dated in 5 years when we met. She said she just wasn't willing to "settle" when others told her to give up her high standards and just loosen up and date. She has often told me since, "I'm glad I didn't settle."

And yet in some senses, I feel like she did settle. You've got to dig to find my 6-pack (or is it a 4-pack these days?). My words aren't always very smooth. My full head of hair is was very temporary.

But her point isn't that I'm perfect. She's saying that she's with the person she's meant to be with; someone she can love well with all of his flaws; someone who will make her feel loved; someone with whom, as Jobs said, "it just gets better and better as the years roll on."

This reminder is critical in processing what Jobs is saying about work.

For some, Jobs' speech would leave them quitting their job to start a snorkeling business because they just LOVE snorkeling! Yet just as quickly as they start the business they realize they hate trying to find funding, hate dealing with equipment maintenance, hate needing to hire and train new employees, hate dealing with customers, and pretty soon they hate their job.

For me, loving work is equally about loving life for the 128 hours a week I'm not at work. It's about what I'm able to provide for my family and what I'm able to give to others.

Yes, it's also about being able to give 110% on the job and enjoy doing it 90% of the time. But no matter how much of a "dream job" it may seem to be, I just can't love a job that takes me away from my family for 80 hours a week or isn't paying enough to keep up with the bills.

Finding the job you love isn't just about finding that thing you love to do the most. That's part of it. But don't forget about everything else that matters.

Jobs' entire speech is embedded below. The video will start at 8:27, where the portion I quoted begins.

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Anonymous Bill Roehl declared,

For me a job is a way for me to pay for vacation--nothing else.

I have always argued that people who love their jobs love them too much and need to be reminded why it's so awesome not to be at work.

10/13/2010 8:44 AM  
Blogger Joey declared,

Vacation is huge for me too. I don't know if I'd be willing to cut back on that. I know, they say everyone has their price. I'm just not sure what mine would be.

10/14/2010 11:12 PM  

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