99 Career Quotes To Inspire Passionate Work

The alarm clocks blares. You roll over, switch it off, and try to wake up.

What day is it?

Oh yeah — another work day. It’s time to get up, get dressed, and start moving.

When it hits you that it’s time to get up for work, what’s your immediate reaction? Do you feel dread about your work? Anxiety? Boredom with your career? Or do you wake up with anticipation, excitement, and enthusiasm?

Is your career just a job, or is it a passion?

Work is necessary for our survival, but passionate work is necessary for our soul. We fill our days, and therefore much of our lives, with our daily work.

Endless years stuck in a mediocre, tedious, or passionless job makes for a very unhappy life.

Perhaps you feel trapped in your career and have no idea how to find a job you love. Maybe your job is OK, but it’s not really what you long to be doing.

If you’re feeling uninspired and confused about your work, it’s helpful to hear what great thinkers and successful professionals have to say about work you love.

Here are 99 career quotes to inspire passionate work:

1. “The biggest mistake that you can make is to believe that you are working for somebody else. Job security is gone. The driving force of a career must come from the individual. Remember: Jobs are owned by the company, you own your career!” ~Early Nightingale

2. “The true measure of a career is to be able to be content, even proud, that you succeeded through your own endeavors without leaving a trail of casualties in your wake.” ~Alan Greenspan

3. “What is the recipe for successful achievement? To my mind there are just four essential ingredients: Choose a career you love, give it the best there is in you, seize your opportunities, and be a member of the team.” ~Benjamin Franklin Fairlessmountain range panorama career quotes

4. “I think there’s no higher calling in terms of a career than public service, which is a chance to make a difference in people’s lives and improve the world.” ~Jack Lew

5. “The best career advice given to the young is: Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.” ~Katherine Whitehorn

6. ” Work to become, not to acquire.” ~Elbert Hubbard

7. “Your outlook upon life, your estimate of yourself, your estimate of your value are largely colored by your environment. Your whole career will be modified, shaped, molded by your surroundings, by the character of the people with whom you come in contact every day….” ~Orison Swett Marden

8. “To find a career to which you are adapted by nature, and then to work hard at it, is about as near to a formula for success and happiness as the world provides. One of the fortunate aspects of this formula is that, granted the right career has been found, the hard work takes care of itself. Then hard work is not hard work at all.” ~Mark Sullivan

9. “I think everyone should experience defeat at least once during their career. You learn a lot from it.” ~Lou Holtz

10. “For many people a job is more than an income – it’s an important part of who we are. So a career transition of any sort is one of the most unsettling experiences you can face in your life.” ~Paul Clitheroe

11. “Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” ~Buddha

12. “Think not of yourself as the architect of your career but as the sculptor. Expect to have to do a lot of hard hammering and chiseling and scraping and polishing.” ~BC Forbes

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13. “Each man has his own vocation; his talent is his call. There is one direction in which all space is open to him.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

14. “You are what you do. If you do boring, stupid, monotonous work, chances are you’ll end up boring, stupid, and monotonous.” ~Bob Black

15. “I believe you are your work. Don’t trade the stuff of your life, time, for nothing more than dollars. That’s a rotten bargain.” ~Rita Mae Brown

16. “Criticism of others is futile and if you indulge in it often you should be warned that it can be fatal to your career.” ~Dale Carnegie

17. “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” ~Michael Jordan

18. “Communication–the human connection–is the key to personal and career success.” ~Paul J. Meyer

19. “If you wish to achieve worthwhile things in your personal and career life, you must become a worthwhile person in your own self-development.” ~Brian Tracy

20. “The darkest day in a man’s career is that wherein he fancies there is some easier way of getting a dollar than by squarely earning it.” ~Horace Greeley

21. “The past is not your potential. In any hour you can choose to liberate the future.” ~Marilyn Ferguson

22. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you too can become great.” ~Mark Twain

23. “The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, make them.” ~George Bernard Shaw

24. “If you don’t wake up in the morning excited to pick up where you left your work yesterday, you haven’t found your calling yet.” ~Mike Wallace

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25. “Think big and don’t listen to people who tell you it can’t be done. Life’s too short to think small.” ~Tim Ferriss

26. “You will never feel 100% ready when an opportunity arises. So just do it.” ~Unknown

27. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt

28. “If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for permission.” ~Unknown

29. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” ~Alice Walker

30. “Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.” ~Bill Cosby

31. “Go where you are celebrated—not tolerated. If they can’t see the real value of you, it’s time for a new start.” ~Unknown

32. “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” ~Stephen Covey

33. “The harder I practice, the luckier I get.” ~Gary Player

34. “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” ~Henry Ford

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35. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” ~Steve Jobs

36. “A mind troubled by doubt cannot focus on the course to victory.” ~Arthur Golden

37. “I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time.” ~Anna Freud

38. “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~William James

39. “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat! Just get on.” ~Sheryl Sandberg

40. “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” ~Lao Tzu

41. “Whatever you are, be a good one.” ~Abraham Lincoln

42. “Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your two ears.” ~Laird Hamilton

43. “A mind that is stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

44. “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” ~Seth Godin

45. “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” ~Charles Swindoll

46. “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” ~Amelia Earhart

47. “Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” ~Harriet Beecher Stowe

48. “If you have time to judge other people, you have way too much time on your hands. Get off your ass and do something meaningful.” ~Shane Gibson

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49. “If it scares you, it might be a good thing to try.” ~Seth Godin

50. “Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.” ~Khalil Gibran

51. “I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’.” ~Maya Angelou

52. “When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.” ~Napoleon Hill

53. “Every job from the heart is, ultimately, of equal value. The nurse injects the syringe; the writer slides the pen; the farmer plows the dirt; the comedian draws the laughter. Monetary income is the perfect deceiver of a man’s true worth.” ~Criss Jami

54. “Begin somewhere. You cannot build a reputation on what you intend to do.” ~Liz Smith

55. “Often people attempt to live their lives backwards, they try to have more things or more money in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are then do what you need to do in order to have what you want.” ~Margaret Young

56. “The career of motherhood and homemaking is beyond value and needs no justification. Its importance is incalculable.” ~Katherine Short

57. “The fishing is best where the fewest go and the collective insecurity of the world makes it easy for people to hit home runs while everyone is aiming for base hits.” ~Timothy Ferriss

58. “I determine to render more and better service, each day, than I am being paid to render. Those that reach the top are the ones who are not content with doing only what is required of them.” ~Og Mandino

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59. “Every time you have to make a choice about anything, think ‘Does this go toward or away from what I want?’ Always choose what goes toward what you want.” ~Barbara Sher

60. “Who is willing to be satisfied with a job that expresses all his limitations? He will accept such work only as a ‘means of livelihood’ while he waits to discover his ‘true vocation’. The world is full of unsuccessful businessmen who still secretly believe they were meant to be artists or writers or actors in the movies.” ~Thomas Merton

61. “When one door closes another opens but all too often there is a long hallway in between.” ~Rick Jarow

62. “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.” ~Patanjali

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63. “The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.” ~Pearl S. Buck

64. “Yes, I’ve made a great deal of dough from my fiction, but I never set a single word down on paper with the thought of being paid for it … I have written because it fulfilled me … I did it for the buzz. I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.” ~Stephen King

65. “Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” ~Rumi

66. “If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures. Sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

67. “Paul and I, we never thought that we would make much money out of the thing. We just loved writing software.” ~Bill Gates

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68. “Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.” ~Johnny Carson

69. “The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.” ~Oscar Wilde

70. “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” ~Donald Kendall

71. “Three Rules of Work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” ~Albert Einstein

72. “Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

73. “Work spares us from three evils: boredom, vice, and need.” ~Voltaire

74. “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” ~Alexander Graham Bell

75. “What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us.” ~Julia Cameron

76. “Without work, all life goes rotten. But when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.” ~Albert Camus

77. “Work joyfully and peacefully, knowing that right thoughts and right efforts will inevitably bring about right results.” ~James Allen

78. “Every person I work with knows something better than me. My job is to listen long enough to find it and use it.” ~Jack Nicolas

79. “The ancient Romans had a tradition: whenever one of their engineers constructed an arch, as the capstone was hoisted into place, the engineer assumed accountability for his work in the most profound way possible: he stood under the arch.” ~Michael Armstrong

80. “Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

81. “Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all.” ~Sam Ewing

82. “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” ~Thomas A. Edison

83. “All things are difficult before they are easy.” ~Thomas Fuller

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84. “The brain is a wonderful organ; it starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.” ~Robert Frost

85. “I’ve learned from experience that if you work harder at it, and apply more energy and time to it, and more consistency, you get a better result. It comes from the work.” ~Louis C. K.

86. “Every man’s work, whether it be literature, or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.” ~Samuel Butler

87. “Give yourself something to work toward – constantly.” ~Mary Kay Ash

88. “No one can arrive from being talented alone, work transforms talent into genius.” ~Anna Pavlova

89. “To fulfill a dream, to be allowed to sweat over lonely labor, to be given a chance to create, is the meat and potatoes of life. The money is the gravy.” ~Bette Davis

90. “Concentrate on your job and you will forget your other troubles.” ~William Feather

91. “Big pay and little responsibility are circumstances seldom found together.” ~Napoleon Hill

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92. “The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.” ~Richard Bach

93. “Work isn’t to make money; you work to justify life.” ~Marc Chagall

94. “Work is not man’s punishment. It is his reward and his strength and his pleasure.” ~George Sand

95. “The greatest teacher I know is the job itself.” ~James Cash Penney

96. “The pay is good and I can walk to work.” ~John F. Kennedy

97. “When a work lifts your spirits and inspires bold and noble thoughts in you, do not look for any other standard to judge by: the work is good, the product of a master craftsman.” ~Jean de la Bruyere

98. Work is much more fun than fun.” ~Noel Coward

99. Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes, work never begun.” ~Christina Rossetti

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1 thought on “99 Career Quotes To Inspire Passionate Work”

  1. Thank you so much for compiling these quotes! I support clients to conduct a professional job search. And I’m excited to share some of these inspiring quotes with them.


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