Sunday, January 2, 2011

Book Review: 48 Days to the Work You Love

One of my go-to reading lists is on Dave Ramsey's site and one of the books he mentions at least 10 times on his radio show on any given day is Dan Miller's "48 Days to the Work You Love." Dave's always giving out copies of this book to callers who are in an income crisis or feel lost in their current job situation. I bought the book months ago for my husband when he was in the middle of his job hunt. Of course I soon realized I should've bought the audio version because he just isn't a reader! I told y'all before, he loves to soak up information, but he just doesn't do books. So with my new goal of reading lots of good non-fiction for added wisdom, this was an obvious early pick. Well for one, we already had it on hand and secondly, after listening to Dave recommend it over and over and OVER again, I was curious.

Author Dan Miller is a professional career counselor and in "48 Days to the Work You Love" he takes the reader on a journey to discover his true calling in life. This isn't strictly a how-to-find-a-job book. It's about unveiling your God-given talents and skills and leveraging those to build a new "life plan." In our (American) society, our lives tend to revolve around our work - our jobs. Work takes the bulk of our time, we let it define us and it allows people to make a list of assumptions about us, based on what we do. Everything else - family, church, community, recreation, and personal development - takes a back seat. But Miller suggests a total paradigm shift here... to where "work" is simply one component of our lives and not the heavy front-runner. He contends that success in all these other areas (family, church, etc.) are equally as important. "Your goal should be to plan your work around your life, not your life around your work."

With this holistic approach, Miller encourages those out of work to take special care of other areas of their life while looking for a job. As the hub and I are well aware, it's very easy to become depressed and down on yourself when you're out of work for an extended period of time. This is especially true for men - their "self-worth" is so wrapped up in their work. While job-hunting, it's crucial to exercise your body and your mind, to stay in touch with friends, to nurture your marriage, and play with your kids. Not doing so can get you in a slump in a hurry. But success in these other areas of life will likely spill over into your work, and you'll begin to find more success in your professional life. Miller spends several chapters on finding a job and gives some really great advice here. He also has lots of additional resources online that many will find helpful. The version of 48 Days that I read has since been updated, so I know that he addresses the current down market in his latest edition. But even in a bad market, the advice I read still stands. You may have to fight a little harder, but he still provides you with the tried and true tools to do so (in the older version I read).

But as I said, this book isn't only for those currently seeking employment - it's for anyone who's ever had a dream. (Translation: everyone.) It's about discovering your calling and making a plan to carry it out. Perhaps your plan is to be your own boss someday! Miller noted that most of us have had several creative ideas but never followed through on them. I know I have! We often talk ourselves out of running after a dream because of fear or uncertainty. We're not smart enough, or our idea's not good enough, or our parents will discourage us, or... I'm sure you have your own list. But Miller insists that ideas are a dime a dozen. "It's not even the quality of the idea but rather the quality of the action plan brought to that idea that determines success." You don't need some bright and shiny new idea that the world has never seen. If you've got a passion for something, you just need a plan.

I was reading Jon Acuff's blog the other day and he wrote that we're becoming the "I'm, but" generation... as in "I'm an accountant, but I want to be an artist." Ha, I know that holds true for me! I'm always thinking, I know I'm good at what I do... but it's not what I'm meant to be. Miller's book addresses this - God giving us certain skills even though it's not ultimately what we're called to do. I personally feel like I'm on a good path to where I want to be, but I must exercise patience. Is what I'm doing my ultimate passion? Absolutely not. But I do not *hate* it and I'm in fact very grateful for it. I know the skills I'm practicing and continually improving will follow me wherever I go. But for now, our financial goals take precedent in our lives and my current job affords us to continue to make strides there. No, money certainly isn't everything - Miller goes into this over and over. Money is never enough compensation - we need for our work to have some kind of "meaning." But sticking to and reaching our current financial goals will afford us GREAT opportunities in the future. Opportunities to do what I really want: help other people.

That's not really defined, I know. Still working on that. But this book has definitely made me think more about my dreams and how I can use where I am now to make progress toward realizing those dreams. The fact is, God has a calling for us all - we just have to listen and seek it out. And it's also important to know that every job is of great importance. Whether you're making the donuts, answering phones, or negotiating million dollar contracts... every job has purpose. God's glory can be seen in every job.

No matter where you are in your career, I highly recommend this book. It's time to realize that a job is not just a paycheck. Discover yourself and make a plan to live out your dreams, passions, and God-given skills. It's there that you'll truly find the work you LOVE.

Next Up: "Sex and the Soul of a Woman" by Paula Rinehart

Previous: "Questioning Evangelism" by Randy Newman


Sasha said...

I'm an accountant, but I want to paint nails....

Just placed a hold on this at my local library. I wish they had the audio version!

Charbelle said...

I think for me it took having a job that was an absolute horrific nightmare that made me appreciate my current job. I now love what I do. Yes I plan to grow and change from this position but I'm so thankful that I was given this opportunity!!