Jack Ma, on Happiness at Work
You may have heard of Jack Ma, the founder and Executive Chairman of the wildly successful internet company the Alibaba Group.
Since Alibaba’s record US $21.8 billion IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in September, Ma has held the title of China’s richest man, with a US $20 billion fortune to his name. Quite an incredible achievement for a former English teacher who is entirely self-made.
Apart from his business wizardry, he’s also well known for his sharp and often inspirational observations on life and work. He recently blogged about an enlightening discussion he had in an Alaskan airport with a night-shift employee who was drastically overqualified for her position, but still loved her job.
Ma’s take on the situation was simple: “A good job isn’t something you go out and find, it’s something you discover while you’re working”.
The full text, translated from Ma’s blog by Charlie Custer from Tech In Asia, is below.
“While resting at an airport in Alaska in a small, simple room, I watched the night shift employee Jennifer. In just ten minutes, she and my colleague discussed the influence of genetics on disease and her own unique take on the influence the earth’s rotation has on atmospheric warming.
Off to the side, I was shocked by her level of knowledge, so I curiously asked about her background. She was a geneticist from the American south, she knew how to fly a helicopter, was over 50 years old, and had three kids. She came to work in this small, polar town after her husband’s work transferred him here. She said she had already worked at that customer service desk for nine months, and she laughed: “I like this job because I don’t have to think too much, it’s simple and pleasant.”
Last week Ma, sat down with the Wall Street Journal to discuss the future of Alibaba – which he describes as an eco-system that helps small businesses grow.
Happiness at work comes from your own attitude. There are always people who can find happiness even in their tedious, repetitive jobs, and yet others are always dissatisfied regardless of how important and interesting their jobs are.
A good job isn’t something you go out and find, it’s something you discover while you’re working.”
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