Monday, July 11, 2011

Quitter Challenge: Chapter 1 - Tia



First I'd like to extend a friendly challenge to Jon Acuff. I feel like I might be able to beat him getting through security at the Nashville, Columbus and Cleveland airports. (This challenge will make sense shortly.) 

I expected "Quitter" to begin differently. I was not expecting the first chapter to be entitled, "Don't Quit Your Day Job." (Insert whiney voice here) But why NOOOOOOTTTTT?????? Most days I loathe my day job. And because I have been doing it for so long I often feel that I have wasted valuable time doing something that not only am I just "okay" at doing but that I don't care about doing anyway. So to hear that I have to stick it out a bit longer was not what I expected. But even if Jon had started the book by saying, "Get up, walk to your boss' office, snatch the stapler and scream 'I Quit' on the way out" I couldn't have done it anyway. I have too many Dons. (More on that shortly) I seek practicality. I'm ever in search of a plan. I've never been flighty. I've always been responsible. As such, I probably wouldn't have read past page one if I'd been instructed to 86 my day job. 

But refreshingly, there is a plan. There is a distinct path to becoming a Quitter. (The oxymoronic-ness (I know that's not a word) is not lost on me.) And part of that plan is staying where you are. Even if staying means putting up with something you couldn't care less about. 

Jon tells the story of an awful, demanding boss he had named Donnie. Jon dreamed of leaving Donnie and all that he represented at this particular job behind. But the reality of it was, to leave one Don was to inherit another. And while the new Don may not be in the form of a person, it will surely come...usually in the form of your electric bill, credit card bill, grocery bill. You get the picture. While I may dream of quietly sending back all of my work equipment with a note that says, "Deuces", truth is I have too many Dons in my life to walk away from this job. So while writing may be my passion, until my passion can support me and I can kick some of these Dons to the curb, I must remain at my day job. 

Even though I wouldn't have heeded his advice, I desperately wanted Jon to begin his book with something like, "Pick a date. This is when you'll leave your day job." As I said before, I'm a planner. And I needed chapter one of "Quitter" to be my plan of ESCAPE. Imagine spending 70% of every month alone, maneuvering through airports, sleeping in hotels, reading about the ailing health of complete strangers and getting fat on $85/day per diems. Okay that's my life. So you can see why I want to leave. I long for the companionship of other writers. I dream about sitting in a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (of which there are exactly ZERO in Nashville *sigh*), with JazzFm playing softly in my headphones as I write about the new (insert artist here) album. But just because I want to leave my day job doesn't mean I should. And just leaving your day job will not ensure the fruition of your dream job. 

"Quitting a job doesn't jump start a dream because dreams take planning, purpose and progress to succeed." - pg 24

While I may not love my job, I love my paycheck. I love being able to see the amounts for my various credit cards go down. I like getting my quarterly 401(k) statements. I enjoy having more than 3 numbers in front of the decimal point of my savings account. These securities that my day job currently afford me may not have been possible if I'd turned my back on responsibilities to wildly and blindly chase my dreams. Dreams take planning. Dreams take focus. So when Jon wrote: 

Want to learn how to be dedicated and focused on your dream? Practice being dedicated and focused at work - pg 24

my feelings were a little hurt but I began to see the merit in my day job. I realized that I needed to learn to be better than "okay" at my 9-5 job. I began to understand that for the moment my day job is the future financial backer of my dream job. And as such, I need to be a better steward of the job that I have in order to learn how to be a great steward of the job that I want. 

I've never bought into the lie that you have to be miserable on your job. I knew at 14 that corporate America wasn't my future. I was going to be a doctor because I loved people and science, scars and blood. (Judge me not.) But I let fear and poor financial planning tether me to a job that pays well and destroys my soul. (Jon, if you're reading this, I know I need to stop demonizing my job. I'm working on it.) However, as I delve further into "Quitter", I'm beginning to understand that chasing a dream can be planned. I don't have to be a mutually exclusive planner or dreamer. I can be both. (The dominate Type A portion of my personality just sighed with relief.) 

While my Monday - Friday may not be anything that I would have seen myself doing 10 years ago, I am now thoroughly convinced that it is right where I need to be. My current 9-5 is an integral part of my dreams. And while I see very few connections (chapter 4) between the day-to-day and the dream, I do have a new found appreciation for it. I know that some day soon I'll get to be a Quitter. 

About the airport challenge: Page 3 of the book finds Jon proclaiming that he's better than the reader at two things: quitting jobs and getting through airport security. While I have no doubt that Mr. Acuff is a better quitter than I am, I'm hesitant to believe that he can beat me through security. So few people can. But since pride comes before destruction (I didn't write that...it's biblical) and I could EASILY become prideful about my airport skills, and have in the past, I'm not going to push the matter too much. But if I see him at BNA (yes, I speak in 3 letter airport code) it's SO on. In a godly, Christian way of course. 

2 comments:

seabeau said...

sigh.

you make me feel normal (not sure if that is a compliment or not ;D). ima need to borrow the book when you are finished, as previously discussed. i could buy it but my book collection is OUT OF CONTROL! i probably shouldn't talk about not buying the book you are trying to endorse on a public forum should i?

ok. so i only want to (selfishly) encourage you to keep on keepin on, we're in this together. ;)thank god for you and your brain and the way it thinks.

anotherjoy said...

Tia, I could have written almost this same post -- so many of your thoughts matched my own! I'm working on thinking about my job as something that's going to help me take the next steps toward my dreams (as soon as I figure out what those dreams are), instead of a hinderance to them. I'm looking forward to reading more about your experience going through the book!

Alicia