Do what you love (for 63 years!!)…

My post from earlier in the month “Do What You Love” was Freshly Pressed by WordPress on Thursday.  In less than 5 days, the post has had 4076 hits, 214 comments and we’re still counting.  The topic hit a cord with many WordPress bloggers who are unhappy in their current job or find themselves “stuck” in the job they are in.  Generally, the response from many was that Paul Graham’s essay inspired them to press on.

Coincidently, I happened to be flying yesterday when a colleague shared this NY Times story with me.  (Thanks CP).  I appreciated this story because I see myself in Mr. Akana…love the work, proud of the firm, fascinating clients, wonderful colleagues and a continuous learning environment.  I would wish this good fortune on everyone.  But we digress…back to the story.

63 Years Flying, From Glamour to Days of Gray” is a charming background piece on a 83-year old United Airlines flight attendant who has loved his job for a very long time – 63 years in fact, and he’s still loving it.  Same company.  Same job.  For a whopping 63 years.  Imagine that.  And it all started with an interview in an Aloha shirt in 1949.  It was also interesting to read about how air travel has changed…

A few excerpts:

“…Mr. Akana was a fresh-faced 21-year-old when he — along with 400 others — applied in 1949 for one of eight steward positions United wanted to fill to represent each of the eight major Hawaiian Islands. “For a local Hawaiian boy, it was so exciting to get to the mainland,” said Mr. Akana, who was born and raised in Honolulu. “I looked around and thought, ‘I’ll never get this job.’ There were 400 other guys; half of them had coats and ties. All I had was an aloha shirt.” But after the first cut, he began calling the hiring manager weekly to check in. His persistence paid off, and he was soon taking off on his first flight to the mainland…”

“Ron Akana has worked as a flight attendant for 63 years, clocking some 20 million miles along the way, the equivalent of circling the globe about 800 times or flying roughly 40 times to the moon and back…Though no one tracks seniority across all airlines, he is widely believed to hold the title of longest-serving flight attendant in the United States.”

“While many of his older colleagues are still flying because they have to, Mr. Akana said he does not work for the paycheck alone…’When I fly, it’s vacation money,’ Mr. Akana likes to joke. But after flying for so many years, the idea of hanging up his sparkling wings is hard for him to fathom. He added that he would miss the people he works with, the passengers he meets and the routine he goes through for every trip, laying out his uniform and packing the night before.”

“I just always felt that it’s just too much a part of my life,” he said.

“All along Mr. Akana has remained a loyal company man, but he is beginning to think about retirement. After so many years of flying, he and his wife want to see the country by RV and perhaps take a cruise.”

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Do What You Love (

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  1. My Dad worked until he was 79, cycling 10 miles every day to work and back. He only retired at 79 as he had a bad dose of bonchitis one winter. He did the same job from the age of 16 as an engineer and was an inveterate tinkerer. Thanks for this post. It reminded me of the importance of doing what you love, which I have emulated from his example, albeit in a different field.

  2. Reblogged this on ram0ram note book.

  3. wow!! this is fantastic and congats on being Freshly pressed!

  4. When you are able to fully integrate your career into your life, you probably have reached a level of completion that few come to know, and many seek to attain. I have always felt that there is synchronicity and joy in being one’s authentic self regardless of location. Mr Arkana exemplifies that experience. Hate to end on a groaner, but I keep thinking of Jimi Kendrix…”..’s’cuse me, while I kiss the sky”.. Thanks David

  5. How wonderful to be freshly pressed. Congratulations!! It’s always a joy to encounter people who have a passion for their work, even better if you are fortunate to work with those people. Thanks for blogging on something that resonates with so many.

  6. Congratulations David on being freshly pressed! Great post! I truly believe you need to love what you do each day!

  7. This is a really sweet story. It’s nice to read about someone so satisfied with their life.

  8. I’ve found doing what I love at the age of 57. I’ve been minor writing for 5 years, not the great American novel or anything, but at least I’m following a passion. I made sure I never told my children what to do for a living. I recommend others do the same. Let them find it themselves.

  9. Congratulations, David. Well deserved!

  10. Reblogged this on LaDona's Music Studio and commented:
    Here’s an inspiring post from one of the two non-music-related blogs that I follow. A lot of musicians fall into this category – we’re lucky that way!

  11. It’s so rare to see that type of commitment and dedication in any industry now a day. I think it’s the perfect example of finding your element! Thanks for the post.

  12. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! Do what you love is pretty much the theme of my work and my life and I enjoyed reading an affirmation of this on your blog.
    Cheers and Congrats!

  13. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed, David! It is well-deserved.

  14. Great story. Very refreshing to hear something so positive. My husband actually said to me the other day how he can’t believe how long he’s been doing what he does. He loves it so much, seems like yesterday he started. He’s a Pharmacist. I tease him and say, “Really. Can’t imagine that counting pills everyday could be so enjoyable.” LOL. He obviously does so much more than that … it’s only been 25 years for him. But, he’ll do another 25 if he’s given the time. :D

  15. Very inspiring story.

  16. I love this! I am especially fond of the part of the story where he was sure the others had a better chance because of their clothing…. yet, he persisted because it was his dream… and he got it! I love it so much! This reminds me that though I may not have everything I need to try to get the job I so desire to keep on persisting and not to give up. :) Thank you, I am truly enjoying reading your blog. It inspires me.

  17. Just the inspirational blog I was looking to follow. Didn’t have to look far. Loving WordPress already!

  18. This post and your previous (“Do What You Love”) are fueling that old flame in me. At 61, I think it’s time to do what I love.

  19. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed, David!! I love your blog!!

  20. This reminds me of my wife’s grandparents who both still run the manufacturing and wholesale art business they set up over 46 years ago. They’re both in their late 80s and work 5 days a week. The idea of retirement never comes up. It’s their life, passion and mission.

  21. Bless you for sharing the Akana story here. He certainly did what he loved for a living for 63 years–whoo–ee! Let us all whoop with joy in our “jobs”!

  22. Amazing story thank you for sharing.

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