The Savings Account Students Need to Launch a Great Career: Podcast #31

Today, I’m honored to share a conversation I had with Jon Acuff. Jon is a renowned author and speaker, who spent years working under Dave Ramsey before he decided to work for himself. Recently, we discussed his new book Do Over, where he shares about the transition out of his dream job with Dave Ramsey. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Below are highlights of our discussion.  


Tim Elmore: We could talk about so many of your books, but the one I think would be most relevant for our listeners (because of their interest in the next generation) is Do Over. Can you give us some context for your new book? What really drove you to write it?

Jon Acuff: Well, I went through a job transition recently, where after 15 years in corporate America, I decided to work for myself. While there was definitely some fear and trepidation, I felt very confident though, because I had spent a lot of time building what I call a “Career Savings Account.”

Most people spend 18 years getting ready for college. Then they graduation and the next thing they get ready for is death and retirement. There is this 40-year gap where our culture tells you that your job doesn’t matter. There is reason why we eat at TGI Friday’s, not TGI Monday’s.

But with a “Career Savings Account,” you can invest in your career anyway you want. The four investments you make include relationships, skills, character and hustle. The formula for the “Career Savings Account” is:

(Relationships + Skills + Character) x Hustle = Career Savings Account

I know listeners are thinking, “Oh my gosh, he said relationships matter. Mind blown! I’m so glad Tim had him on the show.” We all know those elements, but most of us have never applied them to our career. So the concept of this book looks at the transition from backpack to briefcase, and asks, “How do you make sure you’re investing in those four areas?” Because they are going to pay you dividends for the rest of your career.

Tim: I totally agree. If any one of those is missing, it diminishes your life. Okay, so I love the title, Do Over. Do you want to comment on how you chose that?

Jon: There is a lot of shame that says you could’ve done it better. My goal with the title is to redeem the idea that a change is just a do over. I wanted to take the sting out of it and say there are positives with a do over.


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Tim: I would like to move deeper into the idea of the next generation. What advice would you give to today’s students?

Jon: You should start by making a list of 10 people in the industry you’re interested in. You should send those people an email that asks them one question: Is there a book that you recommend I read? If they tell you the book, read it. Then, a week later, respond by thanking them and telling them the two things you learned from the book. It’s important to start relationships before you need relationships.

Also, it’s a great time to be a millennial because you can crush the reputation that your generation is lazy. The bar for you is extremely low. You can go into a job atmosphere and prove them all wrong by hustling and showing up an entire stereotype.

If you’re a student, find someone who is 10 years ahead of you and ask him or her a couple questions. Cause they will tell you what they thought was important at your age and what ended up actually being important. If you’re an adult, you need to be in relationships with a student who is 10 or 15 years behind you, too.

Tim: I know you’ve mentioned the four elements of the “Career Savings Account” being relationships, skill, character, and hustle. Could you talk about a specific activity for the other three elements?

Jon: I define hustle as an act of focus. A specific activity would be to get honest about how you spend your time. For skill, one specific example would be to think: How do I add value in a “skill”-way to this company? Most jobs don’t have a way to measure your value. And for character, part of it is generosity—how do you build generosity among the people you serve?

Check out Jon’s book at 

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The Savings Account Students Need to Launch a Great Career: Podcast #31