Recently some news took me by surprise: the Jon Acuff resignation from the Dave Ramsey team. Acuff is known for his best-selling books Start and Quitter as well as the popular blog Stuff Christians Like. Dave Ramsey is, of course, the popular author and radio personality known for Financial Peace University and the EntreLeadership platform.
A quick visit to jonacuff.com shows Jon’s personal domain is no longer valid:
Doing a simple domain search reveals the owner of Jon’s domain to be Dave Ramsey’s organization:
So what do we learn from this situation?
Acuff and Ramsey are both highly respected and influential. Their situation seemed like a total match. Acuff has repeatedly described his employment at the Ramsey organization as a dream job. Likewise, Ramsey has placed Acuff in some prominent public roles at the company.
Anything beyond that would merely be speculation, and I earnestly hope the situation is resolved amicably. Reading a post on Acuff’s Facebook page, it seems it will be:
After the three greatest years of our professional life, Jenny and I decided to resign from the Dave Ramsey team today. I need to stress a few things:
1. This was not an integrity or moral issue. I have not broken any moral clause or anything like that. Furthermore, Dave Ramsey and the entire team there are the most integrity-driven group I have ever worked for.
2. This was not about money. Dave paid me more than I have ever been paid in my entire life. In addition, he was unabashedly generous with his platform, team and influence.
3. This was not about another opportunity. I don’t have a literary agent or a speaking agent or a publishing deal on the table. I don’t have anything else that drew me away from the company or created a wedge.
4. Stuff Christians Like will return. It takes time to pull together content and blog pages and everything else that is associated with a transfer. Dave has very kindly stressed to me his desire to make that happen as fast as possible.
This was one of the hardest decisions Jenny and I have ever made, but we’ve got a community of people here in Nashville who love us and are walking with us. It’s scary and difficult, but God is not small.
Thanks for being our friend,
Jon and Jenny
But it really does the beg the question: will Acuff get his domain back? Should you give up your personal platform when you work for an organization? My personal answer would be “no”.
Can you endanger your employer through your personal platform? Of course. Can you jeopardize your employment if you aren’t careful about what you post? Absolutely. It goes both ways.
I’ve been in situations where I’ve been either implicitly or explicitly discouraged from maintaining my own platform while working for various organizations. Perhaps they thought I’d reveal sensitive information, speak on something I disagreed with, or plain vented. That’s understandable. Not much trust there, I’ve got to admit.
Rent your job. Own your platform.
Jobs are temporary. The show must, after all, go on. John Kramp of The Riverstone Group encourages people to rent their job and own their platform. I couldn’t agree more. In fact, John has a series of posts that weigh both sides of the issue here:
- Why Your Personal Platform Makes You a More Valuable Corporate Employee
- Don’t Let Your Corporate Job Wreck Your Personal Platform
- Don’t Let Your Personal Platform Destroy Your Corporate Job
Should you sign away the rights to your personal domain, or shut it down? No. Use it as an asset. Acuff has enough of a following that I think he’ll be ok. And the Ramsey organization might be willing to release ownership of Acuff’s domains, or at least the content he wrote. Yours might not.
Your platform is yours. Don’t apologize for it, certainly don’t abuse it, but don’t give it up.
Question: What lessons have you learned from balancing your platform and corporate job? I’d love to hear your feedback.
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