Never Work A Day In Your Life

Have you always been fascinated with how things work and fixing them when they stop working? Some people are born mechanics, and it’s a shame that too often they are discouraged from pursuing the kind of work they love.

This realization hit me many years ago when I was an instructor at the University of Illinois in Chicago. I taught Composition 101 and 102, basic writing courses that were supposed to prepare students to produce literate term papers. In addition to classroom instruction, I was obligated to set aside a few office hours each week for individual meetings with students who might be struggling. One such encounter remains seared in memory.

The young man was, not to mince words, the worst student in my class. He seemed unable to string two coherent sentences together. I tried to explain grammar and sentence structure for the better part of an hour. It wasn’t so much that the young man couldn’t grasp the concepts as much as the fact he seemed bored and didn’t care. Finally, I asked him what he wanted to do after college.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Well, why are you in college?” I asked.

“Because my mother wants me to go.”

“What do you want to do?” I asked.

“I like to work on cars.”

Despite his struggle with the written word, he did not strike me as unintelligent. He simply had a different kind of intelligence than what I was teaching.

Colleges are filled with people who don’t belong there. Not because they are stupid, but because they possess mechanical aptitudes rather than the kind of knowledge valued by college professors.

If you are one of them, do yourself a favor and pursue a career in the trades or some other technical sector where you can let your talents and your passion flourish. Someone once said and it bears repeating, earn a living doing what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.