Thursday, 25 February 2010

Do You Love What You Do?

by Melinda Briana Epler, One Green Generation

This weekend I spent a lovely evening with my grandfather and his wife celebrating their 99th birthdays. I shared a bit about it at One Green Generation, and many people wanted to know his secret.

When my grandfather was in the hospital 2 years ago - for the first time ever! - he was asked that very question:

A nurse came in to see my grandfather just before his surgery, looked at his chart (born in 1911), and marveled at his age. She asked him how he lived so long. He thought for a moment and said, “Well, I suppose it’s because I always loved what I was doing.”

My grandfather came of age during the Depression, so he learned early on to be able to adapt to new jobs quickly, juggle multiple jobs, and when you can, move on to something new if you were better suited for it. Every time he had learned all he could, and taken that business as far as he could go, he moved on. And he was able to get through the time “in between” jobs because he was smart with his money: investing wisely (and conservatively), minimizing debt, and not buying things he didn’t need.

What did my grandfather do? Well, I’m sure I’ll miss about half of his jobs, but from what I remember, he: worked in a grocery store, owned one of the first self-serve hardware stores, was a fireman and helped create the first aid car in Seattle, was a private detective for small businesses, was a pilot in the Marines in World War II, was a business consultant, and was hired to gracefully take several businesses out of business. After all that, he started up a Savings and Loan with two others who didn’t know anything about banking either, and brought it to such success that he was flying his own Cessna to other areas where they were set up franchises. He retired at the bank when he was 65 (about ten years before the S & L scandals in the 80s). After retiring he consulted with several businesses, and spent about five years bringing profit to three of my cousins’ businesses. And to this day he still volunteers.

He was also a father of 2, a grandfather of 6, a great-grandfather of 2, and a great-great grandfather of 1!

With everything he does, he infuses it with passion.

Do You Love What You Do?