As many of you know by know, it was just announced that Steve Jobs died. We are talking about the person who created the image of Apple. It was just recently announced that he was resigning as CEO from apple to take a back-seat role in the company. When this was announced, Apple’s stock was speculated as iffy at best. People worried that the stability of the company would leave with Jobs. That is until they heard that he was still a board member and playing a part in the decisions. Now that he has passed, it raises all sorts of questions. While I could jump into which direction I predict Apple’s stock to move and whether you should buy into this market, I would rather discuss a more philosophical question. Instead, I am left wondering what was important to Steve Jobs.
Did Steve Jobs Work Too Hard?
Steve Jobs’ death at a relatively young age leads me to ask the question of whether he missed out on something. No one doubts his influence in bringing to life a major corporation. In fact, a personal finance blogger from Money Mamba tweeted:
That’s right, even those who don’t own apple products hold respect for Steve Jobs, myself included. It is key to note the hashtag, “LEGEND.” Jobs was in fact a legend. He defied all odds and made Apple a success.
The fact that he was a success doesn’t make him my idol. It does, however, inspire me to ask if life is all about work and being successful. Surely, you can’t help but wonder if he has somehow missed out on something or some opportunity to live a long life.
Work to Live or Live to Work?
I think this question strikes a particular chord with me right now as I am in grad school. My professional goals (besides those that are taking shape with online businesses as this blog grows) are focused on teaching at a university. Anyone who works in this academic field, especially in the humanities, knows that the jobs (that is, employment opportunities; not to be confused with the person) are few and far between. This and a few other reasons leaves me wondering whether getting a Doctorate of Philosophy is really worth it. This would not only mean another 5+ years in school and a lot of work, but also doing all of that with no guarantee of getting a job that I want when I come out on the other end.
Ultimately the question comes down to whether I would be happy doing something else. It is a privilege to be able to ask these types of questions and I know that not everyone is able to chose their field of occupation with as much freedom. At the end of the day, I don’t want to work just for the money. It is interesting to pay attention to the popularity of this idea. People are changing careers more frequently these days. My grandparents and even some in my parents’ generation took this path. For example, my uncle worked for a paper mill for 40 years until he was forced to retire. But now, it is rare to see someone work for the same company for more than a few years. Most people change their jobs multiple times in their career and it is even common to change careers altogether. I think this is a sign of people realizing that they have lots of options available. It is also an indication that people see their careers as a pursuit of happiness (Yes, like the Will Smith movie).
Was Steve Jobs Happy?
I think Steve Jobs’ life offers us a great story of success and achievement. I didn’t know him personally, but I would like to imagine that he strove to be successful and that he found meaning in that. I think he offers a great example of someone with an entrepreneurial spirit. Success and money isn’t the only thing that is worth living for, but if you find both of these things in what you enjoy doing, why not go for it. Steve Jobs had a vision, took some chances and made a huge difference. He will no doubt be remembered in my generation for his many accomplishments.
Ultimately, I think the question for me is not “what will I be remembered for?” but instead what drives me and whether I will feel satisfied doing this or that (and not just for the money).
What’s Most Important for You?
*featured image provide by: Lauren Mitchell via flickr