Quotations about:
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If there’s no money in poetry, neither is there poetry in money.

Robert Graves
Robert Graves (1895-1985) English poet, novelist, critic
“Mammon,” lecture, London School of Economics and Political Science (1963-12-06)
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Reprinted in Mammon and the Black Goddess (1965).
 
Added on 15-Nov-23 | Last updated 15-Nov-23
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If you want to really hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be gay, the least you can do is go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way of making a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922-2007) American novelist, journalist
Man Without a Country, ch. 3 “Here Is a Lesson in Creative Writing” (2005)
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Added on 8-Jun-23 | Last updated 8-Jun-23
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Those three things — autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward — are, most people will agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.

Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell (b. 1963) Anglo-Canadian journalist, author, public speaker
Outliers: The Story of Success, ch. 5, sec. 10 (2008)
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Added on 30-Jan-23 | Last updated 30-Jan-23
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You make what seems a simple choice: choose a man or a job or a neighborhood — and what you have chosen is not a man or a job or a neighborhood, but a life.

Jessamyn West (1902-1984) American writer, Quaker
The Life I Really Lived (1979)
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Added on 4-Aug-22 | Last updated 4-Aug-22
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One day you are an apprentice and everybody’s pet; the next you are coldly expected to deliver. There is never sufficient warning that the second day is coming.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 10 (1963)
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Added on 3-Mar-22 | Last updated 3-Mar-22
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The chief aim of education is to show you, after you make a livelihood, how to enjoy living; and you can live longest and best and most rewardingly by attaining and preserving the happiness of learning.

Gilbert Highet (1906-1978) Scottish-American classicist, academic writer, intellectual critic, literary historian
The Immortal Profession: The Joys of Teaching and Learning (1976)
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Added on 11-Jan-22 | Last updated 11-Jan-22
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No matter how many times I do my work, it never stays done for long.

Ashleigh Brilliant (b. 1933) Anglo-American epigramist, aphorist, cartoonist
Pot-Shots, #2847
 
Added on 16-Apr-21 | Last updated 19-Apr-21
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By doing just a little every day, I can gradually let the task completely overwhelm me.

Ashleigh Brilliant (b. 1933) Anglo-American epigramist, aphorist, cartoonist
Pot-Shots, #1194
 
Added on 26-Feb-21 | Last updated 26-Feb-21
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I couldn’t get myself to read the want ads. The thought of sitting in front of a man behind a desk and telling him that I wanted a job, that I was qualified for a job, was too much for me. Frankly, I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed.

Charles Bukowski (1920-1994) German-American author, poet
Factotum, ch. 31 (1975)
 
Added on 13-Mar-20 | Last updated 13-Mar-20
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A lot of companies — I know it sounds crazy — but a lot of companies … hire people to tell them what to do. We hire people to tell us what to do. We figure we’re paying them all this money; their job is to figure out what to do and tell us.

Steve Jobs (1955-2011) American computer inventor, entrepreneur
“Steve Jobs: ‘Computer Science Is A Liberal Art’,” interview with Terry Gross, Fresh Air, NPR (1996)
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There are a number of variants on this quotation. A common one: "It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do."
 
Added on 23-Aug-17 | Last updated 23-Aug-17
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SYDNEY: Even though a number of people have tried, no one has yet found a way to drink for a living.

Jean Kerr (1922-2003) American author and playwright [b. Bridget Jean Collins]
Poor Richard, Act 1 (1965)
 
Added on 5-Oct-15 | Last updated 5-Oct-15
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Thank goodness, many years ago, I had a preceptor, for whom my admiration has never died, and he had a favorite saying, one that I trust I try to live by. It was: always take your job seriously, never yourself.

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969) American general, US President (1953-61)
Speech, New England “Forward to ’54” Dinner, Boston (21 Sep 1953)
 
Added on 14-May-15 | Last updated 14-May-15
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Be nice to people on your way up because you’ll meet them on your way down.

Wilson Mizner (1876-1933) American screenwriter and wit
In Alva Johnston, The Legendary Mizners, ch. 4 (1953)

Also quoted in Evan Esar, The Dictionary of Humorous Quotations (1949). Often attributed to Walter Winchell, who frequently quoted Mizner.
 
Added on 23-Apr-15 | Last updated 22-Feb-22
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Whoever is in a hurry shows that the thing he is about is too big for him.

Lord Chesterfield (1694-1773) English statesman, wit [Philip Dormer Stanhope]
Letter to his son, #190 (20 Aug 1749)
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Added on 1-May-14 | Last updated 12-Oct-22
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Art is a jealous mistress, and, if a man have a genius for painting, poetry, music, architecture, or philosophy, he makes a bad husband and an ill provider.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Wealth,” The Conduct of Life, ch. 3 (1860)
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Added on 21-Apr-14 | Last updated 22-Feb-22
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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.

Bill Watterson (b. 1958) American cartoonist
Commencement Address, Kenyon College (20 May 1990)
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Added on 21-Nov-13 | Last updated 21-Nov-13
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Added on 3-Dec-12 | Last updated 17-Jun-22
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Your job today tells me nothing of your future — your use of your leisure today tells me just what your tomorrow will be.

Robert H. Jackson (1892-1954) US Supreme Court Justice (1941-54), lawyer, jurist, politician
Speech, Building Dedication, Jamestown High School, New York (1935-11-15)
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Quoted in Eugene Gerhart, America's Advocate: Robert H. Jackson, ch. 24 (1958).
 
Added on 15-Jul-11 | Last updated 24-Apr-23
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Do not worry if you are without a position; worry lest you do not deserve a position. Do not worry if you are not famous; worry lest you do not deserve to be famous.

[不患無位、患所以立、不患莫己知、求爲可知也]

Confucius (c. 551- c. 479 BC) Chinese philosopher, sage, politician [孔夫子 (Kǒng Fūzǐ, K'ung Fu-tzu, K'ung Fu Tse), 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ, Chungni), 孔丘 (Kǒng Qiū, K'ung Ch'iu)]
The Analects [論語, 论语, Lúnyǔ], Book 4, verse 14 (4.14) (6th C. BC – AD 3rd C.) [tr. Leys (1997)]
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(Source (Chinese)). See also 1.16, 14.30, 15.19. Alternate translations:

A man should say, I am not concerned that I have no place, I am concerned how I may fit myself for one. I am not concerned that I am not known, I seek to be worthy to be known.
[tr. Legge (1861)]

One should not be greatly concerned at not being in office; but rather about the requirements in oneself for such a standing. Neither should one be so much concerned at being unknown; but rather with seeking to become worthy of being known.
[tr. Jennings (1895)]

Be not concerned for want of a position; be concerned how to fit yourself for a position. Be not concerned that you are not known, but seek to do something to deserve a reputation.
[tr. Ku Hung-Ming (1898)]

One should not be concerned at lack of position; but should be concerned about what will fit him to occupy it. One should not be concerned at being unknown; he should seek to be worthy of being known.
[tr. Soothill (1910)]

Not worried at being out of a job, but about being fit for one; not worried about being unknown but about doing something knowable.
[tr. Pound (1933)]

He does not mind not being in office; all he minds about is whether he has qualities that entitle him to office. He does not mind failing to get recognition; he is too busy doing the things that entitle him to recognition.
[tr. Waley (1938)]

Do not worry about not holding high position; worry rather about playing your proper role. Worry not that no one knows of you; seek to be worth knowing.
[tr. Ware (1950)]

Do not worry because you have no official position. Worry about your qualifications. Do not worry because no one appreciates your abilities. Seek to be worthy of appreciation.
[tr. Lau (1979)]

One is not worried about not holding position; one is worried about how one may fit oneself for appointment. One is not worried that nobody knows one; one seeks to become fit to be known.
[tr. Dawson (1993)]

Do not worry about having no office; rather, worry about whether you deserve to stand in that office. Do not worry about nobody knowing you; rather, seek to be worth knowing.
[tr. Huang (1997)]

Do not worry about not being on the position, just worry about my quality on the position. Do not worry about that nobody understand me, just seek I can be understood.
[tr. Cai/Yu (1998), #81]

Do not worry over not having an official position; worry about what it takes to have one. Do not worry that no one acknowledges you; seek to do what will earn you acknowledgment.
[tr. Ames/Rosemont (1998)]

He does not worry that he has no position; he worries about whether he is qualified to hold one. He does not worry that no one recognizes his worth; he seeks to become worthy to be recognized.
[tr. Brooks/Brooks (1998)]

Don't worry if you have no position: worry about making yourself worthy of one. Don't worry if you aren't known and admired: devote yourself to a life that deserves admiration.
[tr. Hinton (1998)]

Do not be concerned that you lack an official position, but rather concern yourself with the means by which you might become established. Do not be concerned that no one has heard of you, but rather strive to become a person worthy of being known.
[tr. Slingerland (2003)]

Don’t worry that you have no position -- worry about how you can qualify for one. Don’t worry that people don’t know you -- look for some reason to become known.
[tr. Watson (2007)]

Do not worry that you have no official position. Worry about tnot having the qualifications to deserve a position. Do not worry that others do not know you. Seek to be worthy of being known.
[tr. Annping Chin (2014)]

You should not worry about not getting an official appointment. You should instead worry about whether you have the capability to take that assignment. You should not worry that people do not know you. You should instead strive for remarkable achievement.
[tr. Li (2020)]

 
Added on 19-Mar-10 | Last updated 8-May-23
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Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.

Confucius (c. 551- c. 479 BC) Chinese philosopher, sage, politician [孔夫子 (Kǒng Fūzǐ, K'ung Fu-tzu, K'ung Fu Tse), 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ, Chungni), 孔丘 (Kǒng Qiū, K'ung Ch'iu)]
(Spurious)

Though it has been included in books of quotations, the earliest connection between this thought and Confucius is found in the mid-1980s. See here and here for more discussion.
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 5-Jul-20
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ANTONY: To business that we love we rise betime
And go to ’t with delight.

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
Antony and Cleopatra, Act 4, sc. 4, l. 27ff (4.4.27-28) (1607)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 9-Feb-24
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BOSS KEAN: Sorry, Luke, I’m just doing my job. You gotta appreciate that.
LUKE: Calling it your job don’t make it right, Boss.

Donn Pearce (1928-2017) American novelist, screenwriter
Cool Hand Luke (1967) [with Frank Pierson]

In the actual final script, the exchange goes:

BOSS KEAN: Ah'm jus' doin' mah job, Luke. You gotta appreciate that.
LUKE: Boss, when you do somethin' to me you better do it because you got to or want to ... but not because it's your damn job.
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 25-Jul-22
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