Reflection: Journaling for Clarity

Last year we were entering into our second of a pandemic and my workplace stopped hiring. I’ve worked in enough locations to know that when a company stops actively recruiting a hiring for a location it mean one thing- they are planning to close it. I spent a lot of time journaling for clarity.

Some companies are upfront about this, some, like my old workplace, are not. They gave us lines and glossed over things. IN the end they decided to close the place.

I started to look for another job, outside of the field that I had gone to grad school for, and despite my experience, I got no bites. I applied for 3 months with a few phone interviews. Mostly, my resume left people flat. My experience as a therapist didn’t mean a lot to many companies. Worse yet, my experience in HR, well that made people run away.

Anyway, in the process of bettering my resume I printed out every single journaling prompt about “finding the RIGHT job.” and other that exclaimed to help me “find my purpose.” And still more. 20+ pages of prompts and 8 pages of value words.

I followed every prompt, defined my values, and filled a journal. I used my journal like a tool- a tool that helped me to clarify my intentions and goals for 2020, but also look at where my previous jobs had failed me. I was able to see I took jobs right out of graduate school that didn’t fulfill my purpose, they were easy to accept and comfortable. Or in the case of my last workplace changed in the course of my employment from what I was looking for to something else entirely.

Finally I rewrote my resume, fixed my cover letter.

Serendipitously, at this moment the job opening for my current location opened up. It was a dream location. A job doing exactly what I wanted to do when I signed up for my masters program.

And here I am.

I would not have landed this job, for a great company, if I had not done the journaling.

I feel cheesy saying that journaling changed my life, but it did- in that it gave me the tools I needed to start making changes in my life to change my workplace and change my thinking around work. It also gave me the tools I needed to see where work was failing me as a person. It gave me the confidence to stand up for myself in the final days of my old job, to give an honest exit interview to leadership and to move forward with leaving on a positive note.

I plan on condensing the questions I used as well as the values journaling into an issue of Useful Journaling V2. The info is out there, and some googling and reading will net you some results but I’ll put the UJ and Less spin on it and make a USEFUL version of the tools available sometimes soon.

Journaling about values doesn’t just improve your thinking about work or your job search it can help you clarify a lot of other areas of life- hobbies, thing you want to read about, habits you want to increase or decrease, among many other things.