Below is the transcript of I Can’t Get No (Job) Satisfaction – a TEDx Talk by Stephen Kellogg at TEDxConcordiaUPortland.
Stephen Kellogg – Musician and songwriter
Hello. My name is Stephen Kellogg. I’m a professional singer and songwriter.
When I was kid, I wanted to be Bon Jovi: rock and roll, money, girls, leg kicks, moves wearing a headset, ironically. It’s part of that. But, by the time I graduated college, not only was I not Bon Jovi, but I found myself eagerly jumping into a $6 an hour job, no benefits, working in a ten-foot-by-ten-foot kiosk in a mall. So, needless to say, there was not a lot of room to practice leg kicks in that environment. But, over time, work became something for me that was like pizza or sex: even when it’s bad, it’s pretty great.
I believe that our ability to be satisfied with our work is something that is well within our grasp. I don’t think it’s specific to any one field. I don’t think it’s as subject to external forces as we give it credit for being. And I think that the strategies or the truths that have helped me find joy in my work are things that could work for anybody. And that’s what I want to talk to you about today.
When I was getting ready, I read a study in Forbes that said job satisfaction in America was at 19%. That’s grim. I’m not sure if I totally believe that, but it’s certainly supported my feeling that this might be a relevant talk. But even some of the more optimistic studies that I’ve found still had it well below 50%, which should mean that most people aren’t happy with the work that they’re doing. And that’s a serious bummer. I don’t think it has to be that way.
So I’m going to share some of those things. I know some of you guys might be thinking, “Well, you sing in a rock band. Of course you’re happy with what you’re doing.” And you’d be right. Musicians do rate high on the satisfaction poll. But I would also say to you that the challenges that I face are, I think, the challenges that we all face.
I’m going to introduce you to my four daughters here. These are my favorite people in the world. And, over the last 10 years, I’ve played 1,300 concerts and I figured out I’ve spent about four out of every seven days away from them. So, I know what it’s like to struggle with time commitments, and how much time we spend working versus doing other things.
I would also share with you a job performance review that I received, particularly public, in a newspaper, which says, “his music is likewise little more than an airbrushed fabrication… a victim of its own gritless contrivances and overproduced underproduction.” I don’t even know exactly what that means, but it’s not good. And I think anybody who received a job performance evaluation like that would be very disappointed. So, I know what that’s like too. And, if you still don’t believe that my struggles are your struggles, I will show you my tax returns from the first few years that I did this.
So, all right. Let’s talk about how to be happier with the work that we do. The first strategy or idea: “Know why you’re working.” As the same goes, measure your wealth not by the things you have, but by the things you have for which you wouldn’t take any amount of money. Before my time as an illustrious songwriter, I had my first job at Brooks Pharmacy. I was 16 years old. I was a sales associate, which meant that I was stocking shelves, checking people out, cleaning the toilet, whatever needed to be done, and not work that one would consider obviously fun type of stuff.