08 October 2011

"But I say No, No, No" --Amy Winehouse

So, Thursday, I bid Steve Jobs adieu and paid him a sideways tribute by honoring Dan Shechtman.*  Today, not so much.  Try not to get whiplash.

The thing is, I've seen all these tributes to Jobs and so many people quoting him, especially this quote:
“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. 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.”
This is a lovely strive-for-excellence-anybody-can-be-president-of-course-you're-as-special-as-you-always-secretly-knew-you-were kind of quote that inspires people.  And to be fair, this quote was taken from a 2005 Stanford commencement speech, where a speaker would be expected to deliver a lofty challenge.

It's good advice... if you are a visionary like Steve Jobs.  ...or if you are of demonstrated high potential, like the Stanford grads he was addressing.  (In national university rankings, Stanford comes in tied for 5th place. Which makes them like the "Respect" of songs in the 500 greatest songs of all time**)

But for most people (dare I say 99%?), and in today's recession/depression, I think it's lousy advice.  There are 14 million people who are counted as unemployed.  Fact.  It seems beyond naive and more than a little sadistic to tell someone:  Ignore the hundreds of people queued up to interview at Denny's.  You hold out for your dream job.

Why take a job you don't love?  A colleague of mine refers to her job this way:  "I've developed a nasty habit.  I like to sleep indoors. ...I also like to eat."

It isn't just complete drudgery for her.  She's good at what she does.  If she were truly miserable, she'd seek different employment because work IS a large part of life.  But there's a big difference between finding work you can tolerate/do reasonably well and not settling until you find your one true calling.  There's got to be a balance between "you're a god!" and "you're worthless, be glad if you can get a job picking up poo."

Which leads us to the inevitable question:  Should "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse really be #194?  Discuss.

* Yeah, that guy from Ghostbusters.

** Zamfir, and his pan flute, got shut out.  Oh, the injustice.


Mike said...

'There's got to be a balance'

That's why they are called 'jobs'. Even the best job can get stale after awhile.

The Bug said...

My big goal in life was to make money, but to not have to work too hard to do it. Little miss LackofAmbition - that's me :) And mostly I've succeeded. I have a job that doesn't suck and that enables me to read blogs while I'm "working."

Whereas my husband wanted to be a college professor & he succeeded, but he works a lot harder & is more miserable than I am. Interesting.

Cinderellen said...

Whenever I hear that kind of advice I wonder who would doing the routine uninspiring jobs. I guess balance is the key. If you can find a job that pays the bills and allows enough time to pursue other interests that's enough. Too many people don't even have that.