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Monday, January 9, 2017

Don’t Change for Change Sake

“I don’t want you to wake up at sixty-five and realize, ‘I just spent forty of my best years doing something that just funded my life.’” - Jon Acuff, from his bestselling book, Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job.

Jon Acuff is a truly inspirational guy. I try to get interviews with him several times a year because he is such a capable motivator. Jon is the author of five books and worked for the Dave Ramsey organization for several years. Then he abruptly…quit. He is now pursuing his own writing and speaking career.

Jon came to mind this week as I read a Washington Post story titled, “The new year is the time to ask: Do I have the job I really want?”

Career questioning is very common. Almost everyone deals with it and often on a recurring basis. There are several reasons. Job discontent in some form is the primary reason. Some folks feel stuck in a job they don’t like. Or they think they’ve reached the end of how far they can progress in their work situation. Maybe the routine is all too predictable and they want a fresh start.

One reason that drives many to get serious about change is when they sense their primary interests and gifts are not being used. A variation on this is when they see a way to be self employed doing what they do best. Of course, low pay can motivate people to want change as well.

The WaPo story featured a former laser engineer named Dan. His 9-to-5 job gave him the right pay and benefits. But the too routine workload became too much. He left to become self employed as HandyDan, who specializes in fixing anything in your home.

Another example was a successful international trade lawyer who dreamed of an associate position. Then she discovered her soul was discontent even after reaching her dream position. She left and started to bake cake pops. Today, she owns a shop across from the National Zoo and loves the reward of smiling faces from satisfied customers.

While it’s inspiring to read of these success stories, job change can be risky. Some people are really wired to build and create. Moreover, they are self disciplined and often funded reasonably enough to make these kinds of changes in their work life. But it’s certainly not true for others.

A safer path for the discontent might be a gradual shift. This is something Acuff recommends. Jon claims the secret is simple, “Find something you love so much you’d do it for free and then get so good at it that people pay you a lot to do it.” Again, that’s one way to make the move.

A third option is simply to consider a fresh start in full time work you believe is more closely aligned with who you really are. This is an especially good option for those under 40. Test the waters a bit.

In Ecclesiastes we read, “So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them?” (3:22, NIV)

One thing for sure. Don’t simply change for change sake. Grass always looks greener at the other company.

Especially in the lawn care business.

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

P.S. Consider reading Jon Acuff’s recent blog titled “The tweet I want you to send me next year.” Find at
Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app. 

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