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20 Years, Baby, 20 Years

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Posted 05-24-2011 at 12:41 AM by Jeff Westover

I was at dinner the other night and had a rare opportunity to advise my 21-year old nephew.

As he approaches his college graduation he is, as many often are, lost in terms of what to do next. It is not as if jobs are falling off of trees and after years of pouring it to the coals to get through school he wants a change but just isn't quite ready to declare what he wants to be when he grows up.

That makes him absolutely normal, by the way. And I told him so. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

But I did give him this advice: never, ever trust an employer -- and always have something on the side to do. Something you can call your own.

"Oh?" he said. "You mean like that Christmas thing you've been doing the last couple of years?"

My sister -- his mother -- chortled a bit. I gently reminded him that I've been doing this "Christmas thing" for 20 years now.

He gave me a blank stare.

20 years?!!!

All that college and still a problem with math.

Yeah, baby. 20 years.

It sounds like nothing now. It seems like nothing. But to him, who might come here as many 20-somethings do (about once a year, a week before Christmas), 20 years is simply incomprehensible.

I had a good time with him. It blew him away to know of how many members we have, what our site traffic is like, what the costs are to run this and how much time is devoted to it.

He asked me why I did it.

And the answer is the same as to why he doesn't have a clue about what he wants to do.

It's the love.

It certainly ain't the money. It absolutely isn't the hours. It is something far more precious and less tangible.

That is how you do something these days for 20 years. Nobody stays in a "job" that long any more. There isn't much love or devotion in careers. For some, there never are. And for a great decreasing number of other, there isn't any more.

But this "something on the side" isn't a job. It isn't a career.

Last year I lost a job but I didn't lose the definition of "me".

If I lost this website I'd lose a little bit of me. Therein lies the difference between doing something just for money versus doing something just for love.

As we celebrate 20 years this year -- and believe me, we are celebrating -- let's not forget the love.

It is all I get from this place. And it is enough.
Total Comments 1


  1. Old Comment
    Yuletide Junkie's Avatar
    The musings, "long winded", short, & in between, are always welcome. Your efforts are well appreciated.
    Posted 06-05-2011 at 06:33 PM by Yuletide Junkie Yuletide Junkie is offline
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