Death and failure are the only certainties in life but creativity and perseverance make work worthwhile
Adore him. Appreciate him. Despise him. Disagree with him. Make him a martyr or a saint.
One thing that you can’t deny is the power of Steve Jobs’ legacy. Jobs’ impact on technology, communication and entertainment is as present as ever even after his death on Oct. 5, 2011.
Steve, as he was affectionately known, in his black turtlenecks and blue denim, has caused us all to pause. While not everyone has such a fond appreciation for calligraphy or drops out of Reed College or gets fired from a company that they founded, Jobs understood passion. He understood failure as a necessary part of the growth process. He understood work.
As the end of classes and the start of internships loom, reflection is a natural part of a soon-to-be graduate’s journey. The shift from being a student into a full-time public relations profession is unnerving at best. Jobs reminded students graduating from Stanford University in 2005 that being a beginner is not a disadvantage. After being being fired from Apple, “The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life,” Jobs said to the convocation.
On the day of his death, Toronto Star senior political journalist Susan Delacourt (@SusanDelacourt) tweeted:
“Seems to me that Steve Jobs’ great accomplishment was creative work, not a job. You name/title is not life description.”
Delacourt serves to emphasize that a job is not synonymous with work. Work, based off Delacourt’s interpretation of Jobs, is what you love to do and what brings you pleasure. A job is a means to an end: a pay cheque.
I had the following exchange on Twitter with Sacha Vaz, a fellow 2012 corporate communications and public relations graduate on the day Jobs died:
Sacha Vaz (@sachavaz)
"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to love what you do." - Steve Jobs
Elizabeth Robichaud (@greeninkstains)
(in reply to @sachavaz) Steve knew. When you love what you do, you aren't a workaholic. You're passionate. You're happy. You're satisfied.
Vaz and I were referring to a longer statement that Jobs made about perseverance during the Stanford convocation ceremony.
“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. 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. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. 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.”
Don’t settle. Life is too short and there’s much work to be done.