May 26, 2015
Jon Acuff has written a smart, funny, and engaging book about a possibly exciting, potentially terrifying topic: career change.
The "Do Over" referred to in the title is in reference to your career. Now, I find career books to be slightly terrifying because lingering around them is the suggestion that we need to make a profound, fundamental change in our lives. Any change is scary because of the unknown lurking after it. When it comes to how we literally make our living, the fear can be paralyzing.
Battling both that fear and complacency in our work lives, changing careers is a task most of us won't take on willingly. But it's one that many must take on, and one that we should all be prepared and have a plan for should it come to pass.
Of course, for many people a career change is a dream too-long unfulfilled. They just don't know where to start or how to make the jump.
Either way, Jon Acuff is here to help. Just as a financial adviser can take a look at our income and expenses and tell us what kind of emergency fund we should have in the bank, Acuff helps us take a look at the other kinds of capital we have and should all be building—specifically with regards to our relationships, skills, and character.
Most of us are pretty lousy at even considering these king of things (I know I am), because "we were taught to work jobs, not build careers." But, properly built, you will have what Acuff calls a Career Savings Account—a safety net for either a sudden or planned exit from your current job. But, in order to do it, we must believe we can, and that requires recapturing a bit of child-like gumption.
As kids we believed we had the power to declare "Do Over!" when something didn't turn out the right way.
We'd stand in the street and boot a second attempt at kickball. We'd crumple up a piece of paper when the dog's head ended up lopsided and scribble all over a new one.
We were not afraid to try again.
Somewhere along the way to adulthood we forgot we still have permission to do that.
And not just with art or neighborhood sports, but something much larger. Something that often owns our days and haunts our weekends. Our careers.
It's simply about making the choice to do it. And once you do, Jon Acuff is going to show you how to systematically build your Career Savings Account and spend it on the career do over that you've been dreaming about. It's not exactly easy, and Acuff won't tell you it is, but he will tell you how to do it. The first thing you must do is confront the fear and know that it isn't going away.
When you go for it, you don't escape fear, you land in it. Fear is not a dragon to be slain once, it's an ocean to be swum daily. ... On the other side of a Career Jump is more fear than you've ever known before. And I swear, no one tells you this. Not your friends. Not your family. Not books.
Well, except this book, which makes it unique and valuable. It will tell you the four investments you must make in your Career Savings Account: relationships, skills, character, and hustle. It will also tell you exactly what pool you'll need to pull from for different kinds of career change (he describes four: Career Ceiling, Career Bump, Career Opportunity, and Career Jump), and what expectations you may need to adjust along the way.
It's going to be a lot of work, but you're already working really hard—it just may not be satisfying you (If you've read this far, it probably isn't). It's going to be scary, but you're already pulling around a lot of fear related to your work—it's just a comfortable fear you know and live with instead of the more exciting and alluring fear of the unknown, a fear you really have to own.
And this brings me back to the book's opening line: "When you're a mailman, you shouldn't ask people if you can use their bathroom." Jon Acuff makes you laugh so much you'll forget the fear for a moment, and that helps. But it's not only the humor in the line that helps ease the weight and fear of the issues he's dealing with, it's the humility. It is his own story, and it's how he weaves his stories into the lessons of the book that makes it seem so relatable and possible—even simple.
And it can be. You just have to get up the gumption to get started.
We have 20 copies (signed by the author!) for those that are ready.