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Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Followed My Dream

The passing of Steve Jobs yesterday revived my interest in understanding the importance of what we choose to do for a living. I think Steve said it very well in his address to the Stanford graduating class in 2005. Entitled "You've Got to Find What You Love", he implored the class,  on the occasion of their commencement into their working lives, " find what you love."
You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. 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. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.
I was sixteen and already knew that I loved to fish. I knew there were game wardens and fish hatcheries, but until I met Tom Richardson, I didn't know that there was a profession of fisheries biology.

My buddy and I discovered Tom tending a fish trap in Chico Creek following an effort by the California Dept. of Fish and Game to rehabilitate the steelhead run. Over the next few weeks, Tom put up with a couple of teenagers following him relentlessly to find out more about fisheries biology.  Two years later, my buddy and I enrolled in Humboldt State College to pursue bachelor's degrees in fisheries.

It didn't take two years to make this decision. I doubt that it took more than two weeks. If this looks like "love at first sight" it certainly was. It would provide the basis twenty years later for advising academically frustrated students to follow their hearts in selecting a major course of study at the university.

Steve Jobs was right. If you haven't found what you want to do, keep looking. Don't settle. Don't settle.

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