I watched a video a few years back on Leena Norm’s Youtube channel where she shared a lesson she has learned over the years: one should read books to solve their problems. So, I googled books on feeling stuck in your career, and I decided to read Do Over by Jon Acuff. So, dear diary, bear with me as I discover the idea of professional invention.
Acuff's writing is like a friendly conversation, a reassuring voice in the wilderness of career transitions. He talks about the common fear of change and the discomfort associated with starting over. It's a sentiment we've all felt, that gripping anxiety when faced with the unknown. However, the writer focuses more on the solutions to our fears which makes it a very helpful book for people like me.
I loved the concept of a "Career Savings Account," a metaphorical account we build over time through skills, character, and relationships. “This account serves as a safety net during the inevitable career transitions, providing a sense of security and confidence.’’ Your career savings account has all the people (including family and friends) who you can reconnect with to ask for job postings, for places you send your CVs to and even for any piece of advice related to your career.
The second thing we have in this account is all the skills you have acquired over the years, anything related to your current job or anything that is even unrelated. For example, you work as a secretary and you are good at writing emails and handling records, but you are also good at making banana bread. So maybe if you leave your current job, you could explore entrepreneurship and open a banana dessert bar that serves banana bread, banoffee pie, banana split, and so on. It is like sitting down and doing some self reflection.
One of the key takeaways from Do Over is the importance of investing in skills. The more skills you have, the more people will be afraid of torturing you. And obviously if you have skills, you can always say goodbye to your torturers whenever you want.
The book is not just theory; Acuff offers practical advice on navigating career changes. His concept of the "Career Savings Account" is complemented by the "Career Savings Time" principle, emphasizing the significance of patience and persistence in the process of reinvention. Acuff reassures readers that success doesn't happen overnight and encourages them to view setbacks as opportunities for growth rather than reasons to give up.
Another intriguing aspect of Do Over is Acuff's exploration of the importance of relationships. Developing a strong professional network, and connecting with mentors is going to shape your career. Even at workspaces, you need that sense of community and collaboration. You need to feel like you are always supported, especially during challenging times, like when there are new projects or you don’t have certain skills to perform your job.
But, this book is written by a western author and so most of his advice would make sense in their context. But yeah, I will be using this book as a guide for some time, and I will try to apply the lessons to my work life. I really hope they work for me