My oh my, it’s been a strange week in the world. Going Concern blackout aside, Irene is hoping to rain on parades and summer cook-outs from the Carolinas to Boston; Libya is out of control; the Washington Monument has seen better days; and the US economy – errr Apple – lost its leader in Steve Jobs. His resignation sparked conversations across the globe, from Wall Street trading desks to Main Street to our little corner of the blogosphere here. At some point this week even my geeky-self thought things reached extreme Steve-Jobs-Oversaturation levels.
While perusing Lifehacker.com (see? geek) for Do-It-Yourself advice last night I was not able to avoid their mildly-inappropriate-titled-article about a commencement speech Jobs delivered to Stanford graduates. I would recommend the YouTube clip to anyone, both those of you who are green in your careers and those who are balancing work with family responsibilities. One of the more-HR friendly quotes to come from Jobs’ speech was the following:
Don’t settle. You’ve got to find what you love…your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is do to great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.
How many of us can say that what we do at work – sometimes 40 hours a week, sometimes 80 – do what we love? Not “like,” not “well, it’s okay.” I’m talking about jump-out-of-bed-in-the-morning-with-excitement kind of love. I can’t say it. I like what I do, and there are moments in my job that I love. But love this shit every day? No.
But I’m working on it. And so should you.
Assess your current situation. Can you leave your job tomorrow? Would you? Note – job responsibilities (i.e. deadlines) are not valid excuses. Every job has deadlines – if you hold on to just “Oh, but my manager will be upset if I leave now” you are looking out for your boss more than yourself. Suck it up and be selfish. It’s okay to be selfish.
For me, I can’t leave my job tomorrow. For where I want to be in five years, I need to stay where I am for a bit longer. So in my case (and probably in many of your cases), a change of employer is off the table. So what do we do? We change what we can control.
We can all improve our lives, and I’m not talking about the “eat more vegetables” kind of improvements. I’m talking about transitions in lifestyle that affect the mental and emotional capacity of your day-to-day. Become an active member in an interest group at work. Volunteer more. Research inter-office rotation opportunities. Bust your ass four days a week so you can leave at 5:00p every Wednesday to catch your child’s soccer game. I don’t know what you need – that is for you to figure it out. So sit down and figure it out.
If you pump more life into your days, just think of the possibilities. You’ll sleep better. You’ll be a better coworker/partner/friend/parent/friend. You’ll find satisfaction in your day-to-day that makes the rest of the craziness in the world seem more bearable.
This is not easy. No one said it was. Not me, not Jobs, not your mother. But summer is wrapping up and before we know it (or as the partnership tax group is currently experiencing), busy season will be down your throats and all sweet, fond memories of 12% salary bumps will be swiftly diminished. But it’s not about the bumps in salary or the iPad giveways. It’s about (re)igniting the inner swagger and passion we all hold within ourselves. Think I’m spewing HR bull$@%^? Then you’re not ready for this post, and that’s okay. Come back in November, January, March. We’ll be here.
Share your thoughts below. Cheers.