I don’t own an Apple product. Here I am, typing away on a Windows machine. Still, the news of Steve Jobs’ death is heavy. His creativity and dogged adherence to principle has altered our culture, and for the better. I have no trouble imagining he’ll be remembered along with the likes of Thomas Edison as one of the great figures of his time.
Jobs’s now-famous 2005 Stanford commencement address, embedded above, has been on my mind recently. Watch it, if you haven’t.
In August I took my own leap. When my contract with the University of Illinois ended, I chose not to look for a new paid position. I’d been tunneling ever more deeply into photography- partly because I get to spend more time with living organisms than I do as a reseacher, and partly because I just enjoy it more- so I decided to finally cut the academic umbilical cord.
I now work full-time for myself. When I think about that, when I think about how hard I have to work to replace the security I had a few months ago, it feels as though I’ve stepped into the middle of freeway traffic. It’s a scary amount of responsibility. Yet, Jobs’s words are exactly the sort of reassurance that I’ve made the right decision:
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.
A great person.