By MARWAN AL-FAZUL, Special Contributor
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA — I remember the day very well. I had just been promoted to a Project Manager for the Engineering Division at a LED lighting company in Florida. Two sleepless weeks after that happy episode, I was in a meeting with an over-caffeinated Home Depot Suit who had been obscenely fiddling with one of the company’s newest prototypes. He held the unlit- bulb up a few inches above his forehead and turned his gaze to our team.
“This, guys…this is fucking beautiful, fucking brilliant. You guys are in for some massive shelf space at Home Depot with this beauty. Fucking awesome…Philips won’t stand a chance!”
There was a round of applause all around the desk. Two of my vice presidents high-fived each other. I had a smile plastered to my face and beamed it around the desk. And with all due respect to Edison – it was this point that I knew then I had to get the fuck out of this place.
Flashback to a year before. While pursuing my graduate degree, I was asked to teach a compulsory undergraduate course on Leadership to Freshman students. A few students had come to expressing difficulties with their courses due to Attention Deficit Disorder and I bought in a guest speaker – a renowned specialist in learning disabilities. Just before he began his presentation, he turned to the students and said:
“Listen guys. If there’s anything I want you to take away from this lecture it’s this – to improve your quality of life you have to do two things: find work that you love to do and marry someone you can bear to be with. These things are head and shoulders above everything else.”
Many of us have been in jobs that we love and hate. Too often our time and attention are taxed heavily so that we can succeed in our careers. That day at the boardroom, I realized that the doctor’s advice probably applies to the us who find ourselves at the tail-end of the information age. No doubt, hard work is essential to success. But perhaps all that time and energy be better spent on things that you actually enjoy doing, whether it’s doing your own thing or working in an organization where you find the work meaningful.
And that’s my giving a damn.
Marwan is an avid hiker while having a distinct appreciation for nature and the incredible science it showcases. He’s married with three kids and resides in Florida.