June 28, 2023

Somewhere Between Don & Steve

When my grandpa Don retired as a welder from Geneva Steel, my mom asked what she thought was a simple question:

Did you enjoy what you did?

The question didn’t make sense to him. Enjoy? It was work, he did what he needed to provide, and that job provided as well as any.

I get that. I feel that pull. A pull toward providing, toward just doing the work, toward being content. Toward separating your life from your work and choosing work that lets you have a good life when you leave for the day, but just playing your little part while you’re there.

Grandpa Don’s way is a pragmatic way to think about your life and career.

But there’s another side. When Steve Jobs gave his famous commencement speech at Stanford, he also touched on what you do for a living.

And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.┬áIf 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.

It’s an idea we hear often; chase your passion, follow your dreams, do something that gets you excited to wake up in the morning.

I get that. I feel that pull too. A pull toward fulfillment, accomplishment, hustle, and doing something special. A pull toward using the gifts and skills I’ve got to make a difference. A pull that suggests you can blur the lines a little between work and play.

Steve Job’s way is an emotional way to think about your career.

The thing I have to keep reminding myself of is that there is no perfect balance. No magic recipe that blends just the right measure of pragmatism and emotion for my unique goals and situation. Which means that I’m just figuring it out as I go. And if that’s true – and I think it is – I need to be okay with the feelings of frustration when I don’t get it exactly right.

The days when I feel one side pulling me a little harder than usual with no simple way to resolve that tension.

I’m writing this partly to make sense of these feelings, but partly as a reminder for myself on those days that pull a little harder toward one side or the other. The days where I wish I could just put my head down and do my work as well as the days when I wish I could make a bigger dent in the universe.

I admire Don and I admire Steve.

I want to be Don and I want to be Steve.

But the truth is I’m neither one. I’m just somewhere in the middle, tweaking the knobs and dials of life hoping to find a better balance between the two.

And that’s okay.

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Hi, I'm Gregg.

I'm a SaaS marketer and maker.


Never heard of me? All good, these days I don't chase influence as much as I do balance. By day I run marketing for Inntopia and evenings see me building SendView, but my happy place is playing in the mountains with my family.