You’ve got to find what you love, don’t settle

I received an email the other day from my brother that was quite intriguing, about an article on Steve Jobs’ Bad Career Advice. I was so drawn into this because everyone my age idolizes Steve Jobs, lives by his quotes and have every product Apple has ever manufactured. I am a victim as well.

This particularly was a recent Forbes article he wanted some opinions on, and now I want yours too. He heard about it through one of his LinkedIn Group notifications, and it analyzes something Steve Jobs said at a graduation speech years ago.

Steve Jobs said in his Stanford University graduation speech:

  • “I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love.”
  • “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. 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 until you find it. Don’t settle.”

Robin Hanson (Overcoming Bias Blog):

  • “Now try to imagine a world where everyone actually tried to follow this advice. And notice that we have an awful lot of things that need doing which are unlikely to be anyone’s dream job. So a few folks would be really happy, but most everyone else wouldn’t stay long on any job, and most stuff would get done pretty badly. Not a pretty scenario…”

Will Wilkinson (Big Think):

  • “As an undergrad I was an art major. Frankly, few of my fellow art majors were talented enough to make a living at it, even after four (or more!) years of training. Sure they loved art, but in the immortal words of Tina Turner, ‘What’s love got to do with it?’ ‘Find what you love and never settle for less’ is an excellent recipe for frustration and poverty. ‘Reconcile yourself to the limits of your talent and temperament and find the most satisfactory compromise between what you love to do and what you need to do to feed your children’ is rather less stirring, but it’s much better advice.”

Where do you stand? Here’s was my take on it.

I can relate to this in two parts, from being enrolled in a social responisbility course and to heavily searching for a post-graduate job.

In class we are reading several books, right now World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse, which is full of factoids, problems, solutions and brings decades of research and analysis into play, providing the responses needed to reclaim our future. I leave class with a headache, puzzled, confused, yet motivated at the same time. The reason I bring this up is because what makes people happy or satisfied in their jobs? I believe it’s because they feel what they are doing is worthwhile, meaningful work and making a positive impact.

Going off of the passage “if you haven’t found what you want, don’t settle” simply reconnects you with your long-term goals. I stand in trying to have a long-term vision of what you love and want to do, but touching base with reality and being ‘happy’ that you know you’re on that path. I will not entirely love my future jobs at first, but as long as it’s for an organization that I stand by, is helping me grow personally and I feel is doing the most ‘good,’ I will be happy knowing my future will be better and brighter. Not settling to me is just knowing you are on the right path and not cutting yourself off short.

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One Response

  • Nastea Beef says:

    Even if Steve Jobs’ words were good advice, it’s possible that we don’t realize what we love until we are 10, 15, 20 years into our careers, let alone right out of college. Most of our decisions are made based on expected financial or lifestyle returns, not love for work. Steve Jobs on the surfaces seems no different, considering he lived in a palace. I’m not saying that he shouldn’t have lived a life of luxury or built a huge house, but if he did his work out of love he may have used his money in other ways, like continuing to solve the problems that his companies faced.

    It’s important to remember that most people hope to work less in life. We built tractors to help farmers do more with less. We created the internet to send documents faster. When technology makes us more productive and efficient but the policies that govern work remain the same (e.g., full-time employment = 40 hours), the more we create strange jobs to fill the time, decreasing the likelihood that we will love those jobs. I think that most people working a general office job with a computer has about 15-20 hours of true work in a 40 hour week, with the remaining time spent trying to look busy/playing solitaire. People tend not to love this because they’d rather be playing solitaire at home, or spending that time to do something else productive.

    Also, some we need some people who are good at their jobs, regardless of whether they love it or not. I’d rather have a surgeon with the best outcomes than one who really loves his work but does a shitty job.

    There’s also a lot of waste in switching jobs multiple times to find something that you love.

    Anyway, we probably latch on to Steve Jobs’ words too much. He said this while addressing the Harvard Student body, a group of people who are high achievers but probably have a pile of debt in their diapers. Maybe he said this so that they all don’t pursue Wall St., medical, or law careers just to repay the bills?



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