Last week I stumbled on the concept of a career journal, and I thought, “Wow. Why haven’t I thought of that?”
I’ve always loved journals. Ever since I was in elementary school, journaling was my way to release my emotions. Plus, it helped me think creatively. I used journals to write down my thoughts, write poems, or even short stories. They were entirely my own — for my eyes only. Fast forward 20 years later, and I still love journaling.
Now, I have to resist the urge to buy a notebook every time I see one. I have three different planners, and four different journals that I can think of off the top of my head. Each one is different and for different areas of my life. For example, I have a personal planner, a work planner, and a blogging planner. My journals include a Bible study journal, a meditation journal, a fitness journal, and a personal/creative writing journal.
A career journal seems like a no-brainer. But what makes a career journal so special is that it’s specifically for your career, aspirations, and dreams. Careers change over time — we all know that.
But what if a decade from now you could look back at your hopes and dreams and become inspired by what you originally set out to do in life? That would be awesome.
I’ve never had a career journal before now.
I’d like to say I’ve had some form of a career journal before now, but I honestly can’t say that I have. Everything on my computer is short stories or poems I’ve written over the years. But nothing on my career. Nothing on what I want to do, or how I want to make an impact in the world. All I can do now is recall memories of what it was like working my first full-time job after college or what it was like being a college intern. Back then, I didn’t have a clear understanding of what I wanted to do, but I think it’s still important to look at how far I’ve come in life, and a career journal can help with that.
You might be wondering, “Jasmine, it’s just a career journal. No big deal.” It might even sound boring. But for me, I’ve always valued real pen and paper over typing on a computer. Sure, typing is faster, but there’s just something about writing things down that seems to make it more real. I remember things much better after writing them down. Have you ever had to remember a phone number? You most likely had to say it aloud or write it down to do so.
Trying to memorize it in your head probably didn’t work out so well. It’s the same with aspirations.
A career journal could make life easier.
Life can get messy. Actually, let me rephrase that. Life will get messy. You’re going to get married, have kids, change jobs, move across the country, etc. But what you don’t want to do is wake up one morning and feel like you aren’t doing what you were meant to do.
Maybe I’m putting way too much hope in a journal. Maybe it really can’t do everything I want it to. Let’s think about this for a second. This past week, I haven’t made time to fill in any of my planners. I’ve been so busy lately trying to get things done, yet I’ve found that I really haven’t maximized my time because I didn’t write down my goals for each day in my planner. I didn’t exercise; I didn’t read my Bible; and I didn’t write any blog posts. That’s what happens when I don’t use my planners.
If you’re like me, imagine what would happen if you used a career journal. Maybe you wouldn’t feel stuck in your current job or unmotivated. Maybe you would actually have an answer when a potential employers asks you, “So where do you see yourself in five years?”
Now do you see the benefits of a career journal?
A few ideas to start your career journal.
If you’re feeling inspired to buy yourself a new notebook, here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Write down your ultimate goal or dream in life.
Think about what you want your life to be like. Where would you live? Where would you work? What would your job title be? Would you work for yourself?
2. Write down the necessary steps you would have to take to achieve this ultimate goal.
You might have to do some research to find out the proper steps, but I’m sure you have a general idea of what it would take to get there. Don’t be afraid of this. It might seem scary, but in the end, it will be worth it.
3. Write down your thoughts on where you are in life right now.
Are you happy, content? What would you change? What are you grateful for?
4. Think about where you were 5 years ago.
How have things changed? Are you happy with these changes? How have you grown in the past 5 years? What lessons have you learned?
5. Write down what you would like to accomplish for the remainder of the year.
This is a tough one, but be realistic here. Don’t set an impossible standard for yourself. Ultimately, what is one thing you could do this year to get you closer to your ultimate goal?
I hope you will start a career journal now! I think it can really help you focus and achieve your goals! Got any comments? Share your thoughts below. I’d love to hear from you!
As always, stay encouraged, friend!