Quotations About
work

Aaron: They told me they’d keep me because they could plug me into any story and my salary was in line.
Ernie: The cost-efficient reporter.
Aaron: So I quit.

Posted in: Broadcast News

Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.

Interview with Bell published in How They Succeeded (1901) by Orison Swett Marden, Ch. 2.

Occasionally, in times of worry, I’ve longed to be stylish, but on second thoughts I say no – just let me be myself – and express severe, rough, yet true things with rough workmanship.

Letter to his brother, Theo van Gogh. The Hague, Saturday, 11 March 1882.
Posted in: Vincent van Gogh

Margo Channing: Funny business, a woman’s career, the things you drop on the way up the ladder so you can move faster. You forget you’ll need them again when you get back to being a woman. It’s one career all females have in common-being a woman. Sooner or later we’ve got to work at it no matter how many other careers we’ve had or wanted. And in the last analysis nothing is any good unless you can look up just before dinner or turn around in bed and there he is. Without that you’re not a woman. You’re something with a French provincial office or a book full of clippings but you’re not a woman. Slow, curtain, the end.

Posted in: All About Eve

Hawkins: A jester unemployed is nobody’s fool!

Posted in: The Court Jester

Lloyd: A career? I’ve thought about this quite a bit sir and I would have to say considering what’s waiting out there for me, I don’t want to sell anything, buy anything or process anything as a career. I don’t want to sell anything bought or processed or buy anything sold or processed or repair anything sold, bought or processed as a career. I don’t want to do that. My father’s in the army. He wants me to join, but I can’t work for that corporation, so what I’ve been doing lately is kick-boxing, which is a new sport…as far as career longevity, I don’t really know. I can’t figure it all out tonight, sir, so I’m just gonna hang with your daughter.

Posted in: Say Anything...

Jayne: I’ll kill a man in a fair fight, or if I think he’s gonna start a fair fight… If he bothers me, or if there’s a woman… Or if I’m gettin’ paid. Mostly only when I’m gettin’ paid.

Posted in: Serenity

Vivian: I was in here yesterday. You wouldn’t wait on me. You work on commission right? Big mistake. Big. Huge! I have to go shopping now.

Posted in: Pretty Woman

And then because of the success of that damn book, suddenly I have to do another book, and another book and another book. I’m not somebody who’s set out to be a novelist per se. It just happened to be the clearest success I’ve had. I didn’t want to be trapped into just sitting in a room typing. It’s not the life I have envisaged for myself–sitting in a room typing for year after year. I kind of wanted to do something that would be…I’d get to work with a lot people, have a lot of fun, have a lot of meetings, have lots of brainstorming, lots of clever people around. I’ve also a chance to get a lot of toys. So that’s what this was. It was a kind of mid-life crisis project.

Regarding The Digital Village.
Posted in: Douglas Adams

The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.

Accepting Nobel Prize, 1962
Posted in: John Steinbeck

Ellen: What do you do for a living?
Dave: You mean, when I’m not running the country?
Ellen: Yeah.
Dave: I run a temp agency. You know, secretaries and stuff.
Ellen: So you find people jobs.
Dave: Yes.
Dave: What? What’s so funny?
Ellen: It’s just, it’s more than most people do around here.

Posted in: Dave

Jack Favell: I’d like to have your advice on how to live comfortably without working hard.

Posted in: Rebecca

Dan Rydell: Come with us.
Casey McCall: Where?
Dan Rydell: El Perro Fumando.
Casey McCall: “The Smoking Dog”?
Dan Rydell: Yes.
Casey McCall: Why?
Dan Rydell: If you wear something blue, you get two dollars off a giant blue margarita.
Casey McCall: You know, I make a pretty good living. I can actually afford to wear what I want and pay full price.
Dan Rydell: I’m not promoting the economic upside as much as I am the opportunity to drink something giant and blue.

Posted in: Sports Night

Isaac: It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you. I’m an awfully smart man, and Mark Sabath is an idiot. He had you, and he blew it. You’re gonna do great here Jeremy, but you’ve gotta trust us.

The Hungry and the Hunted (season 1, episode 3)
Posted in: Sports Night

Jeremy: Not fitting in is how qualified people get fired.
Isaac: Yeah, but a lot of the time, it’s how they end up working here.

The Hungry and the Hunted (season 1, episode 3)
Posted in: Sports Night

I wouldn’t say anything is impossible. I think that everything is possible as long as you put your mind to it and put the work and time into it.

As reported in the Huffington Post (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/), July 27 2012
Posted in: Michael Phelps

It’s all about the journey, not the outcome.

As reported in The Huffington Post, July 27 2012
Posted in: Carl Lewis

You have to train your mind like you train your body.

As reported in The Huffington Post, July 27 2012
Posted in: Bruce Jenner

Nothing can substitute for just plain hard work.

As reported in The Huffington Post, July 27 2012
Posted in: Andre Agassi

Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.

As reported in The Huffington Post, July 27 2012.
Posted in: Wilma Rudolph

Will: Yeah, I get that there are moments, small moments, infrequent moments, where I’m not the easiest guy to work with, but who the hell is?
Charlie: I am.
Will: Well, it helps that you’re drunk most of the time.
Charlie: It certainly does.

Posted in: The Newsroom

Employee: You know, I’m just old enough to be flattered by the term “early retirement.”
Paul: That’s wonderful. What a lovely line. Now, if there’s anything I can do for you…
Employee: Well, I certainly hope you’ll die soon.

Posted in: Broadcast News

Garland Green: What if I told you insane was working a 50-hour week for fifty years, at the end of which they tell you to piss off. Ending up in some retirement village, hoping to die rather than suffering the indignity of trying to make it to the toilet on time. Wouldn’t you consider that to be insane?

Posted in: Con Air

Mitch: Value this time in your life kids, because this is the time in your life when you still have your choices, and it goes by so quickly. When you’re a teenager you think you can do anything, and you do. Your twenties are a blur. Your thirties, you raise your family, you make a little money and you think to yourself, “what happened to my twenties?” Your forties, you grow a little pot belly you grow another chin. The music starts to get too loud and one of your old girlfriends from high school becomes a grandmother. Your fifties you have a minor surgery. You’ll call it a procedure, but it’s a surgery. Your sixties you have a major surgery, the music is still loud but it doesn’t matter because you can’t hear it anyway. Seventies, you and the wife retire to Fort Lauderdale, you start eating dinner at two, lunch around ten, breakfast the night before. And you spend most of your time wandering around malls looking for the ultimate in soft yogurt and muttering “how come the kids don’t call?” By your eighties, you’ve had a major stroke, and you end up babbling to some Jamaican nurse who your wife can’t stand but who you call Mama. Any questions?

Posted in: City Slickers

My work is the only ground I’ve ever had to stand on. I seem to have a whole superstructure with no foundation — but I’m working on the foundation.

As quoted in Marilyn Monroe : In Her Own Words (1983)
Posted in: Marilyn Monroe

Bob: You guys are just our kids now, not our employees.
Gene: Is that all we are to you, Dad? Your children?
Bob: Yes, and I want you to go have fun.
Louise: Never!

Bob Fires the Kids (season 3, episode 3)
Posted in: Bob's Burgers

Cooper: We couldn’t afford to pay you much, say, ten dollars a day?
Louise: Ten dollars!
Gene: I could start saving for my Porsche Cayenne!

Bob Fires the Kids (season 3, episode 3)
Posted in: Bob's Burgers

Aaron: I just risked my life for a network that tests my face with focus groups. I don’t feel good.

Posted in: Broadcast News

From the moment, as a boy of seventeen, I first began to pay my own way, my days were ordered by an inscrutable power which drove me hourly to my task. I was rarely allowed to look up or down, but always forward, toward that vague Success which we Americans love to glorify.

Adventures in Contentment

For many years, and I can say it truthfully, I never rested. I neither thought nor reflected. I had no pleasure, even though I pursued it fiercely during the brief respite of vacations. Through many feverish years I did not work: I merely produced.

Adventures in Contentment

George Fields: You are psychotic!
Michael Dorsay: No, I’m not, I’m employed.

Posted in: Tootsie

Sally Brown: Do you know what we have to do? We have to write an essay on Stanley Miles.
Charlie Brown: You mean Myles Standish.
Sally Brown: I can’t keep track of all those names.

Danny: No one’s really an architect, that’s like a job guys have in the movies.

Robert: A job? You do know I mean to involve you in the running of the estate.
Matthew: Don’t worry, there are plenty of hours in the day. And of course I’ll have the weekend.
Dowager Countess: What is a weekend?

Posted in: Downton Abbey

Renton: Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest morgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure-wear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pishing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrasment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life. But why would I want to do a thing like that?

Posted in: Trainspotting

Mal: Hell, this job I would pull for free.
Zoe: Then can I have your share?
Mal: No.
Zoe: If you die can I have your share?
Mal: Yes.

Posted in: Firefly

I remember a very important lesson that my father gave me when I was twelve or thirteen. He said, “You know, today I welded a perfect seam and I signed my name to it.” And I said, “But, Daddy, no one’s going to see it!” And he said, “Yeah, but I know it’s there.” So when I was working in kitchens, I did good work.

As quoted in the New York Times Magazine (11 September 1994)
Posted in: Toni Morrison

Rachel: Who’s FICA? And why does he get all my money?

Posted in: Friends

Looking back, I’ve had a remarkable ride. I’m not sure I can call it a career, because a career implies that I had some kind of career plan, and I never did. The nearest thing I had was a list I made when I was 15 of everything I wanted to do: to write an adult novel, a children’s book, a comic, a movie, record an audiobook, write an episode of Doctor Who… and so on. I didn’t have a career. I just did the next thing on the list.

Address to the University of the Arts Class of 2012
Posted in: Neil Gaiman

I learned to write by writing. I tended to do anything as long as it felt like an adventure, and to stop when it felt like work, which meant that life did not feel like work.

Address to the University of the Arts Class of 2012
Posted in: Neil Gaiman

I decided that I would do my best in future not to write books just for the money. If you didn’t get the money, then you didn’t have anything. If I did work I was proud of, and I didn’t get the money, at least I’d have the work.

Address to the University of the Arts Class of 2012
Posted in: Neil Gaiman

The Doctor: As appealing as that sounds, I’m a doctor, not a dragonslayer.

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.

As quoted in The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell (2003) by Oren Harari
Posted in: Colin Powell

My name’s Ralph, and I’m a bad guy. Uh, let’s see…I’m nine feet tall, I weigh six hundred and forty three pounds, got a bit of a temper on me. My passion level’s very near the surface, I guess, not gonna lie. Anyhoo, what else, uh… I’m a wrecker. I wreck things, professionally. I mean, I’m very good at what I do. Probably the best I know. Thing is, fixing’s the name of the game. Literally. Fix-It Felix Jr. So yeah, naturally, the guy with the name Fix-It Felix is the good guy. He’s nice enough as good guys go. Definitely fixes stuff really well. But, uh, if you got a magic hammer from your father, how hard can it be? If he was a regular contractor, carpenter guy, I guarantee you, you will not be able to fix the damage that I do as quickly. When Felix does a good job, he gets a medal. But, are there medals for wrecking stuff really well? To that, I say, ha! And no, there aren’t. For thirty years I have been doing this, and I have seen a lot of other games come and go, how sad. Think about those guys at Asteroids? Boom, gone. Centipede? Who knows where that guy is, you know? Look, a steady arcade gig is nothing to sneeze at, I’m very lucky. It’s just, I gotta say, it becomes kinda hard to love your job…when no one else seems to like you for doing it.

Posted in: Wreck-It Ralph

Michael: Abraham Lincoln once said that “If you’re a racist, I will attack you with the North,” and those are the principles that I carry with me in the workplace.

Diversity Day (season 1, episode 2)

Dwight: OK, first let’s go over some parameters. How many people can I fire?
Michael: Uh, none. You’re picking a healthcare plan.

Health Care (season 1, episode 3)

Pam: You know what they say about a car wreck, where it’s so awful you can’t look away? The Dundies are like a car wreck that you want to look away from but you have to stare at it because your boss is making you.

The Dundies (season 2, episode 1)

The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.

The Ladder of St. Augustine (1858)

Dwight: Actually, I do own property. My grandfather left me a 60-acre working beet farm. I run it with my cousin Mose. We sell beets to the local stores and restaurants. It’s a nice little farm… sometimes teenagers use it for sex.

Office Olympics (season 2, episode 3)

Jan: Do you always shut down the entire office when you leave for an hour?
Michael: No. No, that would not be efficient… Actually, they just don’t get a lot of work done when I’m not here… That’s not true. I know how to delegate. And they do more work when I’m not here… Not more… the same amount of work is done whether I am here or not.

The Client (season 2, episode 7)

The people who really run organizations are usually found several levels down, where it is still possible to get things done.

Small Gods
Posted in: Terry Pratchett

I won’t retire. When you’re an actor, you’re forced to retire every few months. John Gielgud was 96 when he died, and he was working. It’s good to work, whatever it is that keeps you interested. I would like to do that, I would like to keep going. I don’t have kids, and I don’t have hobbies. I don’t particularly like to travel. If you’re an actor, you have to travel anyway.

"'Bend' it like Walken - Actor has more to say about food and hair than acting", The Sacramento Bee, Dixie Reid (October 24, 2004)

Careers are not often as chosen as people think they are. People talk to me about my choices. I don’t make choices, hardly. Things happen, and you say yes or no – usually ‘yes’, because it’s always better to do something. What’s the choice? Somebody will say, ‘Don’t do that part, you don’t need to do that part.’ And I’ll say, ‘Why not? What am I going to do? Sit around the house?’ I’d much rather go to work, and see actors, and have fun.

"Dancing in the Dark", The Guardian. William Leith, January 25, 2003

I’m a better actor now than I ever was, I wish I could have hurried that up, but there’s no way. Anyway, I always wanted to be around for a long time. Like a European actor, I hope I live a long time and that I’m acting until I finish.

"Christopher Walken shows charming side", The Toronto Star, February 4, 1993

I’m very nervous when I work in a film and very relaxed before a live audience. I like theater because it’s more of an actor’s medium. You can control your performance. In film you depend on the director to watch out for your ass, but in the theater you can take care of yourself.

"Walken's Success Spells Old Lifestyle, But Better Wines", The Boston Globe, Michael Blowen, August 17, 1980

Meyer is an auteur whose every frame reflects his own obsessions. Like all serious artists, he doesn’t allow any space between his work and his dream.

"Russ Meyer busts sleazy stereotype" Chicago Sun-Times (15 November 1985)
Posted in: Roger Ebert

Pennies don’t fall from heaven, they have to be earned here on earth.

Speech at Lord Mayor's Banquet (12 November, 1979)

I had applied for a job in 1948 and was called for a personal interview. However I failed to get selected. Many years later, I succeeded in finding out why I had been rejected. The remarks written by the selectors on my application were: “This woman is headstrong, obstinate and dangerously self-opinionated!”

Quoted by K. Sathyanarayana in The Power of Humor at the Workplace (2007)

The bearing of a child takes nine months, no matter how many women are assigned.

The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering (1975, 1995)
Posted in: Fred Brooks

Everyone knows it takes a woman nine months to have a baby. But you Americans think if you get nine women pregnant, you can have a baby in a month.

The Life and Times of Joe Gordon (To the Best of My Recollection) by Joseph G. Martin (2007)

I wanted to write that my work consists of two parts: of the one which is here, and of everything which I have not written. And precisely this second part is the important one.

letter to Ludwig von Ficker (1919)

If you have to dry the dishes
(Such an awful boring chore)
If you have to dry the dishes
(‘Stead of going to the store)
If you have to dry the dishes
And you drop one on the floor
Maybe they won’t let you
Dry the dishes anymore

Posted in: Shel Silverstein

I began my work as a film critic in 1967. I had not thought to be a film critic, and indeed had few firm career plans apart from vague notions that I might someday be a political columnist or a professor of English.
Robert Zonka, who was named the paper’s feature editor the same day I was hired at the Chicago Sun-Times, became one of the best friends of a lifetime. One day in March 1967, he called me into a conference room, told me that Eleanor Keen, the paper’s movie critic, was retiring, and that I was the new critic. I walked away in elation and disbelief, yet hardly suspected that this day would set the course for the rest of my life.

Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert (2006)
Posted in: Roger Ebert