by Mike Lewis
Nearly five years ago, I sat in my office after work and sketched a cover page featuring stick figures and the words “When to Jump”. I didn’t necessarily want to write a book - I wouldn’t say I’m a particularly gifted writer - but I wanted to get the word out somehow, and a book seemed like the best way to do it. Moments earlier, I had reached out, cold, to a Wall Street banker-turned-cyclist. I had just read a story on her inside a magazine that just so happened to be sitting on my desk. Miraculously, my cold call was answered, and that’s when the cyclist told me the nitty gritty story around making a career 180° to chase a passion.
That’s when it hit me: we should all be hearing these types of stories. A book could help share them, and so could social media, in-person meetups, and...yes, a blog.
I live under one guiding principal: what would you regret not doing? That’s what led me to leave a desk job to try out a dream around the world, it’s what led me to start a Dropbox folder of Jump stories and pass them around for a few years, and it’s what led me to throwing every ounce of effort and energy in a meeting with my now-literary agent to explain why the world needed this book.
And when, eight months after that wild pitch, my agent called me up to tell me we had a book deal - a real, true, legitimate book deal with one of the biggest publishers in the world - she told me one other thing before hanging up: most people don’t get to write a book. And those lucky few who do, usually don’t get to write a second one. So. Make. This. Count.
Fast forward another 15 months and here we are today. The manuscript for When to Jump: If the Job You Have Isn’t The Life You Want is nearly done, the cover is polished, pre-orders are open...the publishing houses engines are warming up.
So at this point, I want to put it all out there. I want to open up more to our community, and share everything from random ruminations to tiny tidbits and interesting articles. I’ll share a bit about the book process, but also cover updates from our broader platform - like our latest Jump Club, our upcoming Jump Ambassador Program, and of course some of our member photo features and blog posts sharing their Jumps. So, starting today through book launch, I’m going to keep thoughts and posts right here. Short and sweet, a paragraph or two, maybe more. For the next few months, I’ll do my best to lay out my random thoughts, fears, goals, and ideas.
I hope you follow along, and tell me your ideas and thoughts as we go along.
And if no one reads this, the book flops and I move back onto a couch? At least I won’t regret not trying.
And why you should consciously curate your Community
By Michelle Cady
It’s often been said that we’re the average of the five people we spend the most time with. This concept applies to everything :: what you eat, how you exercise, your tendency for optimism (or pessimism), your growth-oriented mindset (or fixed mindset), and even your core values on money, relationships, community and career.
Who are your five people?
Maybe they include your significant other, family or best friends, but I’ll also bet that your boss or closet colleague is in your inner circle, whether you like it or not.
When I realized this concept during the summer of 2013, I was working in Finance, excelling in my career in Investor Relations and extremely motivated to hit that next promotion. Then I looked around, and realized I was drinking beers on Wednesday nights with my junior analysts who were years younger than me or sipping wine and entertaining clients alongside my bosses, who were years older.
This didn’t feel like ME. After some thought (and late night pizza stops), I decided to slowly shift my focus back to what I loved doing that Fall :: running.
By Alyssa Oursler
I was in Austin, Texas with my mom the moment I decided I “had” to quit my job. I was working in tech public relations at the time, for a company that had moved me out to San Francisco (per my request) just a few months earlier. I loved San Francisco but felt my workday was more or less sending a ridiculous number of emails—oftentimes to people (reporters) whose jobs I wished I had.
In Austin, in a conference session about turning your passion into a business, a million tiny ideas collided in my mind. My mom had long said I should start my own company and she left the session hoping I would feel inspired to do something of the sort down the line. She was a bit horrified when the first words out of my mouth after the session were: “I need to quit my job...like, yesterday.” I explained to her that I needed to just think of my writing as a small business, and began rambling about the marketing plan I’d just dreamt up.
by Alyssa Oursler
I met Mike Lewis (the creator of When to Jump) last fall at a coffeeshop in San Francisco. He asked me to watch his things while he went to spray paint a board—a board I would later learn was for an event he was putting on called "Jump Club." I had quit a desk job to be a freelance writer over a year before, so I connected immediately to the philosophy. But I was a sliver skeptical of the event (as most writers are of most things), worried it could end up feeling like a cheesy episode of Dr. Phil.
Of course, I went anyway and the first speaker, Kyle Battle, won over me (and the audience, I’m sure). His talk had spoken word poetry and sports—two of my favorite things. He told a story of being offered (and then un-offered) a job with the Detroit Lions. And it was confirmed: This wasn't going to be cliche. It wasn't some self-help bullshit.
For the last 8 months that I’ve been coding Accint, I’ve noticed that people are as interested in the story of how I came to create it as they are in the app itself. Now that I’ve reached the point where I can start scaling up and attracting users, the technology’s full genesis story can be told.
It started in January 2015, when I took my first coding class with Ricky Panzer, a coding wiz who graduated from Cornell in 2013. At the time I was working as an Editorial Fellow at The Atlantic. It was a yearlong Fellowship, and I was through 6 months of it and searching for a smooth transition for when it ended in June. After some soul searching over the Christmas holiday, I realized that there probably weren’t 5 jobs in the world I’d rather do than to write for The Atlantic, but this still wasn’t it.
I was always envious of people that could articulate their dreams. You know, the kids that had thoughtful answers for, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Regardless if it was a traditional dream (a doctor) or an unusual one (a graffiti artist), deep passion guided them through life’s decision tree.
Sadly, I lacked a guiding dream. My only teenage aspiration was making out with my secret crush, James Lovington*, at a Pearl Jam concert. When pushed to “think bigger,” I nervously told people that, of course, someday I’d be doing “dream stuff.” Perhaps I could land a job writing limericks about mosh pit makeouts?
In the fall of 2011, I was enrolled in my Master’s program at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg school for Communications & Journalism. During first semester, I met Professor Craig who made it very clear early on that it was about who you know, not what you know. Building relationships, networking and making it happen would get you the job and keep the job.
Post-graduation with my degree and an early start on looking for jobs, I was jobless. I was sitting in the Annenberg lobby applying to jobs during the summer when Professor Craig spotted me.
“Kiana, what are you doing in here?!” He asked.
I got jiggy at Burning Man in disco pants something crazy happened. And science backs it up.
Disclaimer: I make clothes, and my psychedelic activewear line for music festivals launched on Kickstarter last week.
Nick dressed some days like an art school graduate with hand-me-downs from older art school graduates, and on others, like a Canadian lumberjack rummaging through a Nantucket thrift store. He wasn’t fashionable or trendy, but he dressed like Nick. I wore a light blue Ralph Lauren Oxford over beige chinos and Sperry’s when I first met him. I kind of hated myself at the time.
When I was accepted into college and chose to follow the pre-med track, it seemed as though I had made it to what should have been the victory. I come from a single-parent, low-income home. I worked against the odds in order to become “successful.” Now I was going to be the first Ivy-league educated person in my family - and a doctor on top of that. I knew that the path to becoming an MD was brutally challenging but it was tried and tested and I convinced myself that it was for me. It was a noble profession that truly helped other people and it was something that would make my family proud. That was enough, right?
Thankfully, it didn’t take someone dying for me to re-evaluate my life. Being morbid and existentialist comes naturally to me and I am painfully aware how easy it is to die.
This means I’ve always believed in living a full life and that patience is not a virtue. We should be impulsive and make and take opportunities. Life is to be lived. It’s these principles which guided me into my London life as a high school teacher. The job was challenging and demanded versatility and there was always something new to be doing in London. I got long holidays and had the time and money I needed to go traveling once a year.
When to Jump™ is a community dedicated to exploring the fundamental question we all think about: when is the right time to go do what you really want to be doing?