Tim Cook tweeted to honour what would be the 60th birthday of late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
Remembering Steve, who would have turned 60 today. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” pic.twitter.com/0YD0gZ7jvm
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) February 24, 2015
A nice and understandable gesture, from a friend, but I believe that the used quote from Steve Jobs is not a fact of life, or has serious implications for other people. I mean. Think about it. Many people love what they do, me among others, but they still suck at what they do. At least in the view of other people. It’s all about perspective.
Let me start with holidays. Tell me something. What is so great about people having to cancel their holiday, because your employer/some boss/whoever wants you to work on/finish something, instead of going on a well deserved holiday? Some people were even told to go look elsewhere, if they are not “a member of the team“. Luckily that person wasn’t me. Phew.
I guess that this is the other side of doing “great work” but that is also when people really hate their work. And their employer. Whoever that person or company is. Then you as a boss/manager are certainly not doing “a great job“. You may love your job/products, but I personally also happen to love my wife and family.
Sure. Many companies do this to get bugs fixed before products get released, so I know how it feels to have to work, to do great work, but I would much rather have been on a holiday with my family. That to me would have been really great, but I happen to work for one of the companies that do great work, from time to time, and then you simply (have to) accept this. Either that or look for a new job – the unspoken rule of being part of corporate work.
Another example. My mother is a doctor (works in a hospital) and she totally loves her work, but there have been times that even my mom came home stressed up about something she wouldn’t want to talk about, when a child had died. That was when mom was disappointed. Frustrated, and hated her work. Well. For some time. Still. She is very good at what she does, and people are grateful when she cancels a holiday, or returns early from one, but that is just one of her responsibilities as a doctor. Not because she loves her work, or like to cancel our holiday, but because she wants to help people in need of her expertise.
Nothing new to me. I also grew up with a military dad who yelled stuff like: “rise and shine“, “the only easy day was yesterday“, “there is no IF” and then he had to leave, again and again, too many times for work. Or the times that we had to lie about what dad did or where he was. Boy did that suck at primary school. So many boys and girls with great stories about their dad and their work. However, teachers always skipped me. Like I wasn’t proud (I was) but they were simply told not to ask questions about dad. Speaking about sacrifices. I just don’t want my son to go through this. Not ever. Sorry dad.
And I personally would have loved to spent more time/holidays with my father, but that was impossible due to the nature of his work. And working for Apple appears to be even worse. Secrecy about products, product releases and what not. So yeah. I have mixed feelings about people loving their work, and the products that they work on, because there are always people, mostly wives and children, that have to pay the price for the long hours, for the product that they are working on. Let’s remember that, and honour the wives and children that have to miss a husband/father… just because the next (i)phone or tablet/computer/watch must be great and delivered in time…
In the end. I do great work just because I can. Not because I love my work. The reality is that there are times that even I hate my work. Please. Let’s be realistic. What I love is the pay check, because that keeps me and my family afloat. Not the public figures who walk away with the glory, who are getting all the credit, while other (young) people/families (me/us) who pay the price… when the boss/manager is sitting at the beach, because I tell you that will always suck. Big time!