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Career Stuck? These Journal Exercises Will Help You Get Clarified

Career Stuck These Journal Exercises Will Help You Get Clarified

Navigating career slumps is a common experience in your 20s and 30s, akin to overcoming a quarter-life crisis at 25 and moving on from a past relationship you believed you’d never recover from. If you’re feeling bored, confused, frustrated, burnt out, or a mix of these emotions, rest assured you’re not alone. I’ve certainly been there multiple times since graduating college, and I’ve discovered a few strategies to pull myself out of the dullest ruts. One surprisingly effective method is using journal prompts.

Putting my thoughts on paper has been a valuable way to work through significant life decisions, such as relocating to the city. Similarly, turning inward through journaling has been beneficial when I’ve felt weighed down by work-related issues. I’m not one to keep these prompts to myself, so here are some journal prompts I’ve relied on to gain clarity on my next career move and lift myself out of the deepest ruts:

If I could attain financial freedom, how would I spend my time?

This prompt is perfect for those considering a career change or reevaluation. Imagine a world where money effortlessly flowed into your bank account daily, without any effort on your part. How would you fill your days? Would you redecorate your home, tend to your garden, or immerse yourself in an unfinished art project? Analyze each hobby and activity separately and as a whole. Do common themes emerge? Are your current pursuits aligned with your true passions, or have you strayed too far from what brings you joy? Can you blend these interests into a career? Get creative with your answers as you map out potential career paths. Revisit these desired paths and outline the skills, knowledge, and tools needed to reach your goals.

Are there unexplored opportunities that could reignite my passion at work?

Unearthing opportunities within your current workplace is a swift method for overcoming a career rut. Before hastily switching jobs in the hope of finding relief, ensure you’re absolutely certain about your decision to move on. There’s nothing worse than experiencing career buyer’s remorse. This journal prompt helps uncover whether you’ve outgrown your present role, company, or even the entire industry. Ask yourself if you’ve ever wondered about your boss’s day-to-day responsibilities. Are there projects where you could unleash your creativity? Or better yet, can you lead a project yourself? Open your eyes to potential projects and shadowing opportunities within your current role, and jot them down to discuss with your manager in your next one-on-one meeting. You never know what possibilities exist until you inquire.

How can I incorporate more self-care into my daily routine?

Sometimes, it’s not just the 9-to-5 job that needs reevaluation, but also the lifestyle you’ve established outside working hours. Document some achievable changes you can introduce into your morning and evening routines. Transfer these adjustments to your planner to ensure you prioritize them daily. It’s essential to make sure that each self-care activity is genuinely enjoyable to you, or you won’t give it the attention it deserves. I recommend integrating one mental, one physical, and one emotional self-care activity into your daily routine. For instance, consider meditation for mental well-being, daily yoga for physical health, and journaling for emotional balance. If you’re unsure what to write, review your response to the first prompt, “If you could achieve financial freedom, how would you spend your time?” You may discover ideas hidden within your answer.

Who do I admire as a career role model, and why?

Imagine you could have a one-hour dinner with three to five individuals from your past or current company or industry. Who would you choose? Create a list of your VIP dinner party guests and specify what you would discuss with them while enjoying your meal. Include the questions you’d ask, their strengths, and what you’d like to learn from each of them. If they’re individuals you know or could meet in person, set up a coffee chat or after-work gathering to become better acquainted. Who knows, you might have found your next mentor. If they’re more of a public figure or celebrity, research their career journeys or learn from them through classes, articles, videos, or podcasts. Either way, delve into their career paths for inspiration, both in the direction you could take and the kind of career that might be a better fit if you’re contemplating a change.

What do I genuinely desire?

Consider your personal ambitions, not influenced by your parents’ expectations or what you might brag about during girls’ night. Do you feel ready to negotiate for a new title and a pay raise? Do you believe your current career choice has run its course? Delve deeper into the goals you want to prioritize on your career bucket list and the lifestyle you aspire to achieve. Ultimately, you’re the one investing time in your job and living the life you’ve designed, so ensure it fills your cup rather than draining it.

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