Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson On Why (And How) To Enjoy Your Work

In his 1990 Kenyon College commencement speech, Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson lays out his thoughts about why (and how) to enjoy your work:

You may be surprised to find how quickly daily routine and the demands of “just getting by” absorb your waking hours. You may be surprised matters of habit rather than thought and inquiry. You may be surprised to find how quickly you start to see your life in terms of other people’s expectations rather than issues.

A REAL job is a job you hate. I designed car ads and grocery ads in the windowless basement of a convenience store, and I hated every single minute of the 4-1/2 million minutes I worked there. My fellow prisoners at work were basically concerned about how to punch the time clock at the perfect second where they would earn another 20 cents without doing any work for it. … It was a rude shock to see just how empty and robotic life can be when you don’t care about what you’re doing, and the only reason you’re there is to pay the bills…

I tell you all this because it’s worth recognizing that there is no such thing as an overnight success. You will do well to cultivate the resources in yourself that bring you happiness outside of success or failure. The truth is, most of us discover where we are headed when we arrive. At that time, we turn around and say, yes, this is obviously where I was going all along. It’s a good idea to try to enjoy the scenery on the detours, because you’ll probably take a few.