Taking Career Advice from Steve Jobs

by - 12 May


Steve Jobs said something in his 2005 Stanford University speech that really resonated with me (said nobody ever), but really, I usually go out of my way to block out the wise words of immortalised heroes. I just find it all a bit too cheesy. 

Though I would like to add that I compensate for that with books. I always encourage people to read. Read everything and anything because it really does enrich your mind. If not from me, take it from the 12 year old boy from Utah who asked his mailman if he had any junk mail. 

Since graduating and going through what I think might have been a quarter life crisis I'd taken solace in reading books centered around finding yourself and doing what you truly love for money. Even as child the idea that anyone would commit to a job they didn't enjoy puzzled me. So as the annoying child I was I would go around asking adult family members what they did for a living and most importantly whether they enjoyed it. The answer was almost always 'no' and from that moment on I resolved never to settle for a job I didn't like. 

Giving up on my dreams


So many people give up their dreams for a steady job. In fact most people do. As we grow up the idea of becoming an astronaut or author just becomes 'unrealistic' because of the notions that society places on us. We have fallen so deep into this trap that the saying 'do what you love' has become a cliche. We go to university, get a job, get married, have kids and teach our kids to do the same thing, oh yeah, and die. This vicious cycle continues. What if we weren't designed to do that? What if...

An aunt once told me a number of years ago that if I wanted to be able to afford the make-up and high heels I wanted I would have to 'work hard' for it. What does working hard actually mean? The idea that I'd have to go from one extreme of working hard to pave way for the another extreme of luxury holidays and high heels in my distant future was unappealing to me. So I then decided that I would be content with a job that paid me just enough to go by without starving. 

Something was still nagging at my mind. I couldn't help but feel that life was too short to work a 9 to 5 that I was simply 'content' with. This thought has meant me rejecting a series of day jobs. Don't get me wrong, I never resented any of my day jobs, I've made lots of friends and useful contacts and - shock horror - enjoyed myself a bit. Still, I couldn't find what I called my 'forever job'.

'I don't know what I want to do with my life'


If I had a pound for every time I said that or had that thought I'd be a retired billionaire sipping a mocktail at a hot beach somewhere by now. Deep down I knew what I wanted to become right down to the finest details but I had a hard time admitting it to myself and to others. The fact is, and as both Steve Jobs and John Williams' book Screw Work Lets Play discuss, I was trapped by this dogma which was drowning out my inner voice. This dogma that was telling me that I had to get educated and get a job, work my way up to enjoy the luxuries I wanted, then retire and be too old to enjoy them. Then die.

Steve Jobs said, 'Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice and most importantly have the courage to follow your heart and intuition they somehow already know what you truly want to become, everything else is secondary.'

What do you truly want to become?

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