Monday, June 20, 2011

Book Review: Quitter by Jon Acuff

About a year and half ago, my friend Derek and I were having our weekly breakfast at Panera Bread. Over our coffee and bagels, he asked me what my dream job would be. He knew his - running a guided hunting expedition service. I knew mine too - pastoring Vintage Fellowship full time.

And I knew my backup dream job too - being a corporate motivational speaker. How great would it be to travel to distant places, talk to a group of people for a couple of hours about how to clarify their mission, communicate better, or integrate faith in the workplace, and get paid for it?

Dream jobs sometimes feel like pipe dreams.

Jon Acuff's new book Quitter is about how to close the gap between your day job and your dream job. In Quitter, Acuff tells his own story about going from dead-end desk jobs to writing as a part of the Dave Ramsey team. Along the way, he started his very popular blog, Stuff Christians Like, spoke at several major conferences, and published his first book. Acuff's story is interesting and accessible. It offers clear and concrete advice that can help anyone who dreams about doing something different with his or her life.

Here are some of the things that really resonated with me:

Don't quit your day job too soon. Wonderful advice. Far too many people unwittingly sabotage their own dreams by jumping in too soon. A dream job is not freedom from stress and responsibilities. Bills still need to be paid. Groceries still need to be shopped for. These things don't go away just because you get to do your dream job. In fact, a day job can make a dream job possible. I know that for me, my dream job is still alive because of my day job.

Hustle. Dream jobs take work. Hard work. Long work. Creative work. When we started Vintage, I said often that I wanted to leave it all on the field. I knew I needed to hustle. Dreams don't magically come true. Incidentally, this is also why it's really, really important for spouses to be on board with dream jobs. It is likely that they are going to cost you and your family many things. (But it's worth it.)

Don't steal from your day job. Acuff isn't necessarily talking about paper clips and pens. He means bigger, more complex things. Time. Energy. Effort. Like it our not, your day job is still your responsibility. It's really tempting to day dream on your day job. If you're willing to skimp on your day job, you'll end up skimping on your dream too. Day jobs are laboratories for developing the integrity needed to succeed at your dream.

Harmony. Though he doesn't talk about it specifically, Acuff personifies the importance of harmony. Your dream job needs to be in line with your values, your faith, the kind of life you are trying to create for yourself and your family. As a Dave Ramsey employee, it's not a surprise that Acuff endorses the principles of Ramsey's financial peace. How refreshing it was for me to see where my dream job fits in the baby steps.

Quitter was the exact book I needed to read. It is both inspiring and informative, challenging and convincing. Anyone who has a job they dream of should read it.


1 comment:

Justyn said...

Glad to see some common-sense wisdom regarding "living the dream." From personal experience, the dream job is created, formed, forged, and finally realized.

I think the biggest challenge is balance. All the creativity and extra energy needed to get that dream in place is exhausting. Raising a family + working is hard enough. Adding building a business to the mix is NOT for the faint of heart.

It's always good to see someone walking it out the right way, Robb. Keep it up!