Thursday, October 6, 2011

Following your dreams does not always work out

Steve Jobs' commencement address at Stanford has been all over the place since his death was announced yesterday. In his speech, he tells the graduating students to follow their passions, to trust that doing so will put them on the right path, even if they can't see what that path will be.

One of the many places that this speech was quoted was on tonight's edition of Marketplace. Also tonight on Marketplace was a story called "The economy as seen on a bus ride down Sunset Blvd." In this story, Marketplace's Kai Ryssdal speaks with a senior at UCLA. Upon learning that she is an English major, he says, "So you're screwed?" and she replies, "Absolutely." With regard to her choice of major, he asks, "What were you thinking?" and she says, "I feel like they kind of counsel you into do what you like, do what you love, if you enjoy it, you're going to be good at it. And so I just picked English and then later on realized that maybe that wasn't the best choice."

Kai Ryssdal also speaks to a single mother, raising her children and working full-time to support them. She tells him, "I want to go back to school, I want to make more money, but just not possible right now."

It's easy for Steve Jobs to say follow your dreams. Following his dreams worked out for him. But it doesn't work out that way for everyone. And if a person's life is not all they dreamed of, that doesn't mean the person failed to pursue their dreams. Maybe they did pursue their dreams, but it didn't work.

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