When you’re feeling down about your job, it can be so tempting to jump quickly to the next job. Sociopaths find their way to management positions, colleagues melt down, companies downsize at the drop of a hat. We find ourselves pivoting so often we make ourselves dizzy.

We become disorganized in our thinking about career. Starting a journaling habit can be one way to slow down and make time for reflection. Research shows it can help you organize your thoughts and give meaning to stressful work experiences. It can help you explore exactly why you aren’t connecting with your job, so you don’t end up in one just like it.

The Questions

Here are a few daily prompts for starting to reflect on your career path:

  1. When is your job tolerable? When do you have moments of neutrality? What are you doing, where, and for whom?
  2. If a miracle occurred and you were transported to your new job, what would it look like? Imagine your day, from getting dressed to your commute, to your lunch hour.
  3. What do you hate about your job? What is the opposite of this activity or situation? Do you hate the chaos? The conflict? Imagine a peaceful, orderly place. What are you doing? How are you interacting with colleagues or clients?
  4. What energizes you out of the office? These might be the direct opposite of what you’re doing at work. Always online at work? How can you go analog?

The Process

Don’t set the bar too high on the word count, number of journal pages, or depth of thinking. Just write for 5 minutes. Pick a time in your day when you won’t be interrupted. Don’t try to do it on your Metro commute or while cooking dinner. Just set aside 5 uninterrupted minutes.

Don’t worry about punctuation, spelling, or grammar. You can be a slob here. Just get the thoughts down.

Make a mess, explore, and don’t judge yourself too harshly. This is a chance to create space for imagining a different work life.

What did you dig up? How did the process go for you? Share your thoughts in the comments!