Book Review: Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job

One of the critical success factors in those who are financially successful is working in a position that matches their passions. Sadly, though, numerous studies have shown that more than half Americans go to jobs they hate, living for quitting time on Friday.

If you have a dream, you need to follow a process that will allow you to transition in such a way that the dream doesn’t become a nightmare. In Quitter, Jon Acuff lays out a very reasoned approach to move toward your dream job in a planned way such that you can still put food on the table.

Don’t sabotage yourself

By following a plan you ensure that you don’t sabotage your dream before you have a chance to even get started. If you are frustrated and just quit your day job with no plan you leave yourself in a very vulnerable position.

Jon talks about all the ways we can sabotage ourselves. It’s easier to do nothing and talk about our dreams than to actually start to move in a new direction. Nothing is safe. Nothing is the familiar. But it doesn’t lead to our dreams. He also addresses all the excuses that we can lay out to side track ourselves. It’d be easier if I had the money,  weren’t married with kids, weren’t so busy, etc. Perfectionism is another way to sidetrack yourself. I’ll get started once I make just a few more tweaks to my plan. All of these things are ways we avoid taking the steps needed to realize our dreams.

Falling in “like” with your current job

He also talks about falling in “like” with our existing job. He makes a very interesting point in that if we hate our day job and find every way possible to avoid work, we are sabotaging our efforts to progress on our dream job. It is very hard to loaf all day and then suddenly turn on a switch and be productive at night. The way you work your day job will follow you home. He notes that in almost all cases you can find ways that your current job is preparing you for your dream job. He uses as an example suppose you are working as a barista at Starbucks but you dream of becoming a CPA and opening your own business. What could Starbucks have to do with accounting? Well Starbucks teaches you about handling money. Starbucks teaches you about dealing with all kinds of people, and Starbucks teaches you about marketing. Those are just three examples of experience you gain that will be helpful in your future career. When you learn to see how your current job is a preparing ground for your dreams it is much easier to fall in “like” with your day job.

Building a transition

Jon then talks about how to build a transition plan that will help you get to that dream job. He notes that early days of getting started have the blessing of invisibility as you can learn your new craft while there are relatively few following you. You develop a plan and then hustle, hustle, hustle. Moving to your dream job while still putting food on the table will not be easy. It does require sacrifice in the short-term. At the same time Acuff encourages you to be wise about what is sacrificed. Some “sacrifices” really have no lasting value. Other “sacrifices” are far too important to be given up for your dream. It’s very important to discern what is worth sacrificing and what isn’t.

Taking the plunge

Lastly, he talks about how to go about reaching that point where you know it’s ok to leave that day job behind to pursue your dream full-time.

Jon gives a very logical and thoughtful approach for pursuing your dreams, but at the same time he is also a very entertaining writer. He had several illustrations that made me laugh out loud. If you are currently working a “day” job but have dreams of something greater, Quitter is one of the best practical books I have read to help you make that happen.

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