While some of us enter the sports industry immediately after high school or college, many of us attempt the career transition after toiling in a different field for years. Jon Acuff’s book, titled Quitter, has application for those of us looking to make that eventual transition. Its subtitle explains its purpose well, Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job. This career advice book is by no means sports-centric but its topics hit home for anyone eyeing a sports job as an ultimate career destination. As career advice books go, Quitter is relevant, humorous and useful. The author uses his real-life experiences to explain how he successfully transitioned from a job that paid the bills to a job that fulfills his dreams. He does so without the mouthful of slogans and rhetoric that often fill books of this genre. And, at just under 250 pages, Acuff’s brevity is appreciated.
Quitter’s overarching premise is, if you’re willing to hustle, your best opportunity to make your dream job a reality is by not immediately quitting your day job in its pursuit. Acuff asks four questions in the inside flap of the book that he answers throughout its eight chapters.
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?
You wouldn’t expect a book titled Quitter to have its first chapter titled ‘Don’t Quit Your Day Job’. The author lays out his experience as a serial quitter, what his day jobs were and what his dream job is. He makes a compelling case for remaining at your full time job while in pursuit of your dream and covers impacts to family, finances and why you’ll be more successful with this approach. Acuff takes the next couple chapters to help readers discover what their dream job might be (hint: you likely already know what it is) and how to draw parallels between it and your day job. Do you hate your current job? There is an excellent topic on why it’s important to respect your employer, not steal time from them and reasons to appreciate your full time job even when you think you have no good reason too. To this point, Jon Acuff has used his experiences – mostly at AutoTrader.com – to describe how he worked hard at a job he didn’t love while putting in extra hours on nights and weekends pursuing his dream of becoming a full time author and writer.
The latter half of the book is about how to cultivate your dream job in stages. It isn’t a “get happy quick” book, selling dreams to miserable office workers. It is a set of general principles for incrementally turning your dream job into a full time position that will both support your family and make you happy. Work harder than the status quo, wake up earlier and give up on things you like to do in lieu of things you really love doing. Quitter provides practical advice like this and gives motivational anecdotes on why following these suggestions will work. I’m not a huge fan of motivational catch phrases – several do pop up throughout the chapters – but Acuff does a nice job of minimizing their uses as filler. The final chapters round out his story of moving from an office cubicle into a full time job as author and speaker. And he pairs those stories with your plan to quit your day job and what to expect in the days that follow. Are you really ready? The chapter ‘Quit Your Day Job’ has a great 52 question evaluation complete with a scoring system to help determine the answer. How do you make the switch without causing family upheaval? What’s the best way to get your family on board early in the process? Jon Acuff’s process to move from day job to dream job isn’t just theory because he, with a wife and kids, did it himself.
Most of us have the dream of working in sports. And some of us are still on the outside of that dream looking in. A book like this inspires us to take action instead of just talking about it. And, whether you’re 25 or 55, it gives you some tools and tips on accomplishing that feat. It’s a quick, motivational and fairly humorous read that may give you a kick in the butt or, if nothing else, give you some reading material while you wait for the next edition of Slam magazine to arrive.