Young people setting out into the workforce often dream of having a career, climbing the corporate ladder, and end up with an enviable title in 30 years. But one of the most unconventional thinkers of the modern age felt this wasn’t a goal to aspire to.
Apple founder Steve Jobs thought that a career was one of the most ‘dangerous’ concept invented by humans. “Don’t be a career,” he’d said at the Palo Alto High School graduation in 1996. “The enemy of most dreams and intuitions, and one of the most dangerous and stifling concepts ever invented by humans, is the “Career.” A career is a concept for how one is supposed to progress through stages during the training for and practicing of your working life,” he’d said.
“There are some big problems here. First and foremost is the notion that your work is different and separate from the rest of your life. If you are passionate about your life and your work, this can’t be so. They will become more or less one. This is a much better way to live one’s life,” he had added.
“Make your avocation your vocation. Make what you love your work,” Jobs said.
“The journey is the reward. People think that you’ve made it when you’ve gotten to the end of the rainbow and got the pot of gold. But they’re wrong. The reward is in the crossing the rainbow. That’s easy for me to say—I got the pot of gold (literally). But if you get to the pot of gold, you already know that that’s not the reward, and you go looking for another rainbow to cross,” he added.
“Think of your life as a rainbow arcing across the horizon of this world. You appear, have a chance to blaze in the sky, then you disappear,” told the students. “To know my arc will fall makes me want to blaze while I am in the sky,” he added.
Jobs seemed to believe that having a traditional career guaranteed mediocrity, chiefly because the same path had been trod on so many times previously. Being tethered to this path prevented people from realizing their full potential. By following their passions and their intuition, people would not only be more fulfilled, but also end up in a place that a traditional career path could’ve never taken them. And that, Jobs seemed to be hinting, was a life worth living.