Archive for October, 2011

Thanks Steve Jobs… I’m getting out of the Navy.

The passing of Steve Jobs has brought about a popular reverence of the man.  People say he was the modern day Edison, revolutionizing our lives through technology.  He was indeed brilliantly creative, and combined his business savvy with a rare understanding of what makes people enjoy using technology.  But did anyone think of him in this light before he died?  Probably not, outside the tech industry.

Anyways, through all the hype about his life that has arisen since his death, his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford stands out.  In it he talks about his life, and about facing death.  It is a rare event in which a businessman speaks of philosophy, and the speech is powerful in a posthumous light.  Here’s the link:

Its a good speech, but what I took away from it started around 9:10, where he talks about facing death.  Here are the quotes that I thought best reflected my thoughts about life in the Navy:

  • “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
  • “Don’t be trapped by dogma which is living with results of other people’s thinking.”
  • “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”
  • “…and most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition…”

Nearly every career advice we get offers ways and avenues to replicate what the previous generation of Naval officers did.  When we know something doesn’t work, we forgo innovation and attempt to mend what was there, perpetuating a broken system.  Dissenters of the way we do business are ostracized for being lazy.

This mantra isn’t for everyone.  The majority (I think) of people are more than content to show up to a job with excellent job security where they’re told what to do.  That life is not for me.  I cannot commit my life contributing to an organization unwilling or unable to change for the better.  So the question is, “Will I take the chance on myself?”  Thanks Steve Jobs.  I’m getting out of the Navy.