Life Changers: Jon Acuff – Work Doesn’t Have to be Miserable

Life Changers is a feature on my blog where I ask individuals to answer the question: “What is an idea or habit that has changed your life?” Here is how author, speaker, and awesome guy Jon Acuff answered the question.

Jon Acuff Start Jonathan Harrison Life Changers

jon acuff Jonathan D Harrison Life Changers Start Quitter 

Jon Acuff is the New York Times Bestselling author of four books including his most recent, Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average & Do Work that Matters. For 15 years he’s helped some of the biggest brands in the world tell their story, including The Home Depot, Bose, Staples, and the Dave Ramsey Team. Most recently he’s spoken to hundreds of thousands of people at conferences, colleges, companies and churches. Jon has been seen on CNN, Fox News, Good Day LA and several other key outlets, and his blog is read by 4 million people, and he has almost 200k twitter followers. In 2010 he used his influence with his tribe to build two kindergartens in Vietnam. Jon lives with his wife Jenny and two daughters in Franklin, TN. Connect with him at or on twitter @JonAcuff .

What is an idea that has changed my life? The idea that work doesn’t have to be miserable.

After reflecting on Jon’s answer to my question, I remembered one of the best stories that demonstrates this idea is found in his book Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, Do Work that Matters, involving a call to the Apple support desk after a problem with the Cloud wrecked his iTunes account. Here is a paraphrase of Jon’s account of the interaction:

During an hour long phone call with a customer service representative, I asked “Is your job hard? I’ve sat beside customer service departments at jobs I’ve had, and it seems like it is.”

Her job seemed to be quite miserable. Every incoming phone call was from a customer who was unhappy or having problems. Her phone never rang with people calling just to say thank you or “I love my new laptop! It’s working great! I just wanted to let you know!”

“People only called when their phone was broken or their hard drive crashed or the battery in their laptop had overheated and started a small lap fire (or when, hypothetically speaking of course, they had spilled coffee inside their laptop and were hoping there was some sort of keyboard shortcut they could press that would open the laptop’s bilge pump. Control + Alt + 3, maybe?)”

When you stop and consider the worst phone call you may have received at work last week, then imagine forty hours of that over and over, that is pretty much what her job is like.

So the answer from the customer service representative was surprising.

“I love my job!” she said.

“Really?” I replied. “How so?”

“Well, there are two things I love: learning new things and helping people. And I get to do that all day!”

“Every day I get to help people solve their problems. It’s so fun. And I get to learn new things. The technology is changing so fast that every day is different, and I get to learn about all that!”

“She was able to take a job that a lot of people would say “it must be hard to do that” and have great joy in it.”

What about you? Do you feel that work has to be miserable? How would a different perspective about work change your day?