I knew I would be writing something about jobs for this issue of the Opening Bell – the topic is on everyone’s mind and lips – but I had no way of knowing I would be writing about Steve Jobs until he was the one on everyone’s mind and lips upon his recent death. Before I go on, I have to admit a couple of semi-embarrassing things right up front:
- I’ve never owned an Apple product – not the Mac nor the iPod nor the iPhone nor the iPad. I have admired them from afar, appreciated their design, believed all the great things everyone else said about them, but I just never went there. I’ve owned the less dazzling Microsoft counterparts, but I’m just not that into dazzling technology. To me it is all just a means to an end.
- I really didn’t feel any personal connection with Steve Jobs until these past few days when I began learning more about him and about what a truly remarkable human being he was: master designer, marketeer, CEO, and visionary. The media is ubiquitously comparing him to Thomas Edison in terms of his impact on the world, and I agree. My interest in him has skyrocketed.
But remember, I am not a techie in any way, shape, or form. My primary passion is for people – people and their passions, you could most accurately say. I am fascinated by what people do with their lives, who they were and who they become, what they love to do, what they care about, and how they respond to the challenges life inevitably brings. I love the hero’s journey, the hero, some very famous and some known only known to me.
As I learn more personal things about Steve Jobs, like the fact that he was put up for adoption at birth; that he is Syrian; that as an adult, he reunited with his biological sister and they became close; that he also became close with the daughter he had had out of wedlock and at first denied as a very young man; that he later became very happily married to Laurene Powell, about whom I want to know more; and that his professional path was full of challenges and detours.
Steve Jobs on “Work” There are two things Steve Jobs said that were particularly meaningful to me and may not have appeared on your radar screen amid the media blitz. Both of them were featured in a major article about Jobs in the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday, October 8, the day after he died. Both of them were part of his commencement address to the 2005 graduating class at Stanford. He said,
I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything.
In the same address, the whole of which is worth reading, he said,
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, keep looking.
Both of these quotes tell me that Jobs became older and wiser on his human journey, the apt trajectory for all of us as we learn from our mistakes and pain.
When I say, in the course of my work or writing, the very same things, they just don’t seem to have the same gravitas as when Steve Jobs says them. From now on, I will quote him instead and see if my words will carry more impact.
Wow. What a life! You kept doing what you loved right up to the very end. Thank you, Steve, thank you for everything.
You can follow an ongoing discussion at Bonnie Bell’s Career & Life Coaching blog.
Our dear Bonnie Bonetti-Bell was the force behind our Career/Life Coaching services, until her passing in 2019. As a principal of our firm, Bonnie had an innate talent for seeing the best in people. Moreover, she helped others see the best in themselves. Bonnie is fondly remembered and deeply missed.