Review | Quitter

Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job by Jon Acuff

Summary (from Goodreads)

Have you ever felt caught between the tension of a day job and a dream job? That gap between what you have to do and what you’d love to do?

I have.

At first I thought I was the only one who felt that way, but then I started to talk to people and realized we’re becoming the “I’m, but” generation. When we talk about what we do for a living we inevitably say, “I’m a teacher, but I want to be an artist.” “I’m a CPA, but I’d love to start my own business.”

“I’m a _____, but I want to be a ______.”

All too often, we hear that dreaming big means you quit your day job, sell everything you own, and move to Guam. But what if there were a different way?

What if you could blow up your dream without blowing up your life?

What if you could go for broke without going broke?

What if you could start today?

What if you already have everything you need to begin?

From figuring out what your dream is to quitting in a way that exponentially increases your chance of success, Quitter is full of inspiring stories and actionable advice. This book is based on 12 years of cubicle living and my true story of cultivating a dream job that changed my life and the world in the process.

It’s time to close the gap between your day job and your dream job.

It’s time to be a Quitter.

Review | 3 stars

While this was a fun, easy read with tons of useful information, the audience is a bit too narrow for my taste. Acuff writes for the dreamer who has a day job, the person who aspires to a more non-traditional job or career path than the typical nine to five. I would not consider this a book to help a person switch daytime careers (e.g., accountant to school teacher) although it still is encouraging to read about how others have succeeded personally and professionally (since they are so intertwined, honestly). I liked the tone and style. A couple notes from the text below:

Always start with your passion, and start practicing to get yourself comfortable or more adept at what it is you’re passionate about BEFORE you lay out a full plan to reach your goals. Your passion is the fuel to get through the tough times. A plan can’t do that on its own.

5 questions to ask at your turning point (“hinge”):
1. Do I love doing this enough to do it for free?
2. When I do this does time feel different?
3. Do I enjoy doing this regardless of the opinions of other people?
4. If I pursue this and only MY life changes, is that enough?
5. Is this the first time I’ve loved this or is this part of a bigger pattern in my life?

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Advice for Myself

3 pm

I’m horrified by the prospect of a new year. I already miss 2013. It was a year packed full of heavy emotions, life-altering events, and honestly some really great times. I miss college and my sorority. I miss doing research for my independent study. I miss my summer off, where I did nothing related to internships or work or school. I will miss being 22 as my birthday looms closer.

Despite all of my desires to remain in 2013, the clock will roll over at midnight. It already has. To my co-workers in New Zealand, Happy New Year! Tomorrow already exists, whether I like it or not.

So, like many people around the world, I’ve decided to write down some ideas for things I want to do next year. Some of these may seem selfish. And frankly, they will be. I want to change so that I enjoy my life a bit more. Ultimately, I must make the changes to affect my life. Other people may be affected, yes. But being static in my own growth will hurt me and others in the long-run as well. So, as a precaution, please accept these few words as my formal apology for anything I mess up for you with my resolutions.

In the next year, I want to make both big changes and small changes. I want to alter my perspective. I’ve listed a few ways how. You may disagree with some, and be totally gung-ho about others. Leave a comment if you feel so inclined. Regardless of other blog posts, columns, or thoughts that are out there, I’m sticking primarily to this collection of resolutions for 2014.

  1. Go shopping alone. Even if you don’t buy anything. You like it, Heather. Go do it. For you.
  2. Seriously, keep texting/ calling/ Facebooking/ communicating with your faraway friends. Don’t lose touch with those you truly care about.
  3. Take a Friday off, and take a long weekend to see some friends in another part of the state. The Friday is to get there and enjoy a night on the town. You’ve never done it. GO DO IT.
  4. Learn the ukulele. Even if you’re bad at it. And don’t stop when someone complains. They should invest in good headphones.
  5. Abandon your phone more often. The only time that didn’t work out was when your parents wanted to surprise you with dinner and a movie at the theater and you missed the calls (plural) because you didn’t look at your phone while driving, and took the dog out for them when you saw they weren’t home. That was a great reason to miss the gift—you were giving to them! How cute.
  6. Plan a vacation. Go on a vacation. Enjoy a vacation. SOMEWHERE ELSE. GO DO IT.
  7. Go on lunch dates. They’re fun.
  8. Tip more. Always tip more. Especially for a server in a bad mood. It will make his or her day.
  9. Don’t be afraid of not being compatible with potential friends. If it works, yay! If not, what’s the harm in trying? You will always feel rejected if you never try in the first place.
  10. Learn about someone else’s dreams/ ambitions. They might just shock you.
  11. Spend time with people, even if they want to do something you hate. You can either be miserable the whole time, or turn the time into a precious memory by making it people-focused and not event-focused.
  12. If you like using glitter on crafts, by George, use the glitter.
  13. Keep blogging. It makes you feel good. Even if what you write isn’t read by an expansive audience. Newsflash, that’s not the point.
  14. Stop thinking that the number of likes you get on Facebook reflects how much people like you. Dude, they click a button, and they like you? I don’t think that’s how friendship works.
  15. Accept that you are a nerd. A very nerdy nerd.
  16. Don’t bring up schooling in conversation; if someone else brings it up, say it and move on. That subject makes you start comparing yourself to others, and then you typically come out disappointed with yourself for any number of reasons. No one wins.
  17. Read a book a month. You already get pretty close to this goal. So make it happen.
  18. Make your t-shirt quilt. You’ve been talking about it for years. Roll out that batting, and get to work.
  19. Take the dog for a walk at least three times a week. It gets you moving, and helps the parents. Win-win.
  20. Save every five dollar bill you have. At the end of the year, put it into savings. You already do this. I think it’s cool, so continue doing it. Easy enough.
  21. Go on a date if you’re asked. Make it a big deal. If you want romance, make it known, girlfriend.
  22. Have a party or a get together for your birthday. It’s been a long time since you’ve had something like that that you’ve planned. Don’t be ashamed to want to celebrate something that’s cool. And make it a costume party. You’ve never done one before, at least that I remember…
  23. Pray more. Don’t expect God to speak if you aren’t listening before, during, and after praying. He won’t ignore you, and He won’t make you feel alone. Don’t give Him a cold shoulder.

Someone recently told me to give myself some advice. So, there you go, Heather. There are 23 pieces of advice for your 23rd New Year’s celebration.

Welcome Aboard!

12 noon

Today I found myself thinking—am I really going through my quarter-life crisis? I have heard so many of my friends complain about their work situations, where they live, their lack of leisure time. And now I find myself with the same dark circles, existing in a dank world drained of the color it seemed to have while I lived on the naïve side of the fence prior to my college graduation. Turns out the office-style fluorescent lighting on the other side made the grass look pretty darn green from afar.

Graduation itself was a blur (and no, I wasn’t drinking). I remember some familial complaints about parking and the walk from the commencement exercises which were held at the main stadium to the location of my graduation on the other side of campus (which half of my folks missed altogether, by the way). I recall some photos being taken. Then I went out to lunch with my mother, uncle, and close friend. Some Italian joint. Then I was back in my dorm room, hanging my borrowed gown and changing into sweatpants. Was that the start of the rest of my life? Sweatpants?

And now here I am. Sitting at work, taking my lunch hour at my desk. If I have to be here nine hours, I am taking my full lunch hour. Side note: I noticed this morning I had lost some (OK, a great deal) of muscle tone in my legs and core. Mom mentioned it may be because I stopped walking around campus and literally walk from the front door to my car parked in the driveway, then from my car to the inside of the first floor of my building for work, and a bit around the office for meetings. Then I return home after walking to my car from the office and once again trek the driveway, ending my excursion on the couch. The most physical activity I get is yelling at Wheel and Jeopardy contestants when they miss an answer. So, Mom: 1. Heather: 0.

It is week 3 on the job, and I feel like I am bound to this desk chair. At least it swivels. And rolls. Maybe I should make a gif of me spinning around in it later. Oh that’s right, I was talking about my job. My relatively new job which, though challenging, has approximately nothing to do with what I studied in college. Honestly, everyone has to pay their dues by taking that random first job after graduation—I get that. But I have a passion for investigating war, counterterrorism, and counterinsurgency. Current events are my thing, and I don’t mean Miley at the VMAs. She is the talk of the office, I tell you.

Anyways, at the moment I coordinate my company’s responses to requests for proposals (RFPs) by other companies or governments. Though my role is vital for the expansion of the company and thus makes me an important member of the sales team, I feel my role in the world has no relation to my “future me.” My long-term goals are lost because the now stands in the way like a twenty foot wave. Am I blocking my own way? I’m swimming in the multitude of existential questions that clout the mind of many a twentysomething. I seem to suffer the throes of the wind and waves that flood my cubical… yet somehow, some way I feel as if I am not drifting alone. In fact, my tiny life raft has found a ship filled with those once caught amongst the stormy waters of the ocean that is life. The name of the ship? The Human Race.

Yes, Heather, welcome to the rest of your life. No, Heather, don’t think you’re not going somewhere. Water is always moving, and so are you. Embrace your quarter-life crisis; it isn’t something to get through, but something to embrace and experience. Choose optimism, joy. God has huge plans, and all you have to do is use the stars as your guide. Keep your head and sights up!