Quitter! Who, me?

For Christmas I received Jon Acuff’s Quitter. And I loved it.

I can relate to this guy – in 8 years he went through 8 jobs, believing that his next position would finally be the one to satisfy him.

I can’t say that I’ve gone through that many jobs in as many years, but I’ve definitely shared the same mentality as Jon – believing that my job was supposed to fulfill me, and if it didn’t, then there was something wrong.

Jon’s book is all about closing the gap between your day job and your dream job. Here are some of the most helpful points that I took from the book.

1. Be Sober-Minded

You might have dreams of quitting your day job in order to pursue your dream, but dreams cost money. And on top of that they usually don’t pay anything. So now you don’t have a steady income and guess what? You have to go to the dentist. Or buy a plane ticket. Or heck, you just need a new freakin’ bra!

I don’t have regrets. I don’t. When I quit my job in British Columbia I had little regard for the financial risk. Though I saved a rather large chunk of money for a post-grad, I also had little knowledge of what I should be doing with it. And like I learned from those School House Rock commercials as a child – Knowledge is Power! It really is!

And because I had no knowledge I had no power. I quit my job and I took a “dream” job where I earned nothing. (I fund-raised a small portion but covered most of my yearly expenses on my own). Huge risk? Uhh…yes! My bank account dwindled and then when the chance came for me to work in Thailand (the job paid – but not much) I wasn’t positioned well financially to take on such an endeavor. But I did it anyway…because I have little regard for financial risks.

But like I said, I don’t have regrets. I have “it’s my faults”.

What do I mean? I mean it’s my fault that I chose to not be a good steward of my finances and that I am in the position I am at 28 years of age. It’s my fault. I take full responsibility. And while I maintain that it’s my fault it is not – nor will it ever be – my regret.

But there is happy news to report! Due to diligence and hard work (and God’s grace!), I am now debt free and building my savings account up once again. Yes!

2. Hustle!

If I want to fulfill a dream then I need to get off the couch. I need to make lists. I need to have a plan. I need to set goals. I need to stop thinking and start doing. HUSTLE. I’m not very good as hustling. I’m good at getting excited about hustling and thinking of different ways to hustle, but when it comes to actually doing the work, that’s hard!

When it comes to the Art of Hustling, I’m reminded of Don Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. His book is all about writing good stories with your life. Maybe you’re a daydreamer like me, and you can think of a 1001 great stories, but when it comes to bringing those stories into existence, that’s hard.

There’s no answer to this problem other than JUST DO IT.

3. Eliminate Expectations and Take Ownership

You walk into the office at 8:30am, flip on your computer, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and mope. And groan. And secretly check your email. And try to take a nap with no one watching. That was me. How come I’m not satisfied? How come this job isn’t everything I though it would be? Why am I so bored?!?

Well, that’s probably because when I packed my bags and moved across the country to the Mennonite land known as Abbotsford, I thought that was it for me. Surely such a big risk meant such a big reward, right? I mean, this is the job that I hoped and prayed for, so obviously I will feel fulfilled and energized by my work. Especially when my coworkers claim to possess that sentiment.

Wrong.

No job is perfect. There are things that are boring, laborious, annoying, and sometimes, just plain silly. But a magical thing happens when you remove the expectation that your job will fulfill you. You start to fill your life with other things that fulfill you. If you’re a writer, you begin waking up early each morning to pour out your soul into the blog that no one reads anymore. If you’re a cook, you craft up your newest recipe with tender care and serve it to your loved ones. And gradually, you are fulfilled. You arrive at work happy and excited about what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve got going on. And that “calling satisfaction” tank is already pretty full by the time you pour that first cup of coffee!

I wish I would have discovered that back in ’08. I’m embarrassed at the lack of maturity I demonstrated at my job. The way I would slouch in my chair and let out sighs of exasperation because I had to write the same stories over and over and over again. Didn’t they see how it was killing my creative process? I mean, come on!

Now this brings me to present day. And thank God, I can say I’ve changed. I have a job that I am extremely thankful for. I don’t make anything close to what I made at my job in Menno-land. But that’s ok. Because not only am I embracing this position with gratitude and eagerness to learn new things (like accounting!), I’m also realizing that with a good budget, it’s very possible to live on a little. And that’s exciting.

So thank you, Mr. Acuff, for serving up a dose of reality. I think that gap is getting smaller and smaller by the day.

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2 thoughts on “Quitter! Who, me?

  1. I still read your blog, Nat!
    You’re dead-on with the fulfillment thing- I was talking about this with my friend Sherri a year or three ago, and something she said still sticks with me- “sometimes it’s not about finding the dream job, it’s about finding the job that allows you to fulfill your dreams”.
    And apparantly you’re AWESOME at sneaking in naps, because even sharing our itty bitty windowless Menno-land office, I never noticed.
    Or maybe I was napping too.

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