When I heard Steve Jobs died, my first thought was, “But didn’t he just get sick?”
In reality, Steve Jobs had been sick a very long time, impressively fighting off pancreatic cancer much longer than most people who are diagnosed do. But still, when a fellow coworker read the news headline out loud, my office’s floor collectively, silently, took a very deep breath and held it. It’s displaced, awkward, and kind of gross to be personally affected by a stranger’s death; and yet, no one is passing much judgement as the city feels like it’s been put on pause today.
Like I assume a lot of people did, I immediately googled Steve Jobs to find out more about the man we’re all mourning. He was very guarded about his personal life, and as such, pretty much left us with just two big pieces of himself: his Apple products and some very quotable quotes. My favorite is from his commencement speech to Stanford’s graduating class of 2005:
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.
I find this advice particularly resounding, since I am one of many early 20-somethings who graduated into a dismal job market. Does this advice apply to us? I want to think that it does, and that we don’t have to take what we can get, shut up and be happy with it. We constantly hear rhetoric about paying our dues, and I think for a lot of people that means living with this horrible ennui that we don’t think we deserve to fix. We’re in a state of constant anxiety, mainly because the idea of making important life decisions with your gut instinct isn’t something most people encourage.
RIP, Steve Jobs. Thanks for reminding us we really do have the power to do anything we want.