5 Ways You Can Use a Journal for Professional Development
Work...True it's a four letter word, but for most of us, it's something we need to do. And the better we do our work, the more likely we are to a. enjoy it and b. Get paid more to do it...
But how do your do better at your job? Sure, you could get a career coach, but before you to that, why not take a stab at your own career coaching with a little self-reflection.
All you'll need a is a pen, a notebook and a little time to honest with yourself.
So if you don't want to be like her:
It's time to create your very own work journal. You'll be able to use this to help yourself day in and day out, AND it will come in handy during review time when you're asking for that raise or that next step in your career ladder.
You can use your work journal as a way of assessing your performance. Take regular pulse checks of your achievements, the times you hit your targets or brought on new clients.
Make a note of any feedback you receive. Reflect on how projects went, what went well, what you would change.
Add these into your journal as a way to be your own cheerleader, but also so you have a record of your achievements to talk about when it comes to review time. Print out any emails or and screenshot any feedback you received (from instant messenger) or any other channel. Put these in your journal, and keep a electronic copy as well.
By the time your annual performance review comes around, you’ll be well prepared to document your achievements and toot your own horn by sharing your feedback.
- Analyze your current job
Sometimes jobs can evolve. It can be a useful exercise to sit down with your position description and see how the current reality matches up. Are you doing things that aren’t listed? Are there things you should be doing but aren’t? If your position has grown beyond its official description, then it's time to assess. Is this a good thing in terms of you gaining more experience. Great. Next step, has your title and pay evolved as well? If not, maybe it's time to start a discussion with a manager or HR about codifying the new responsibilities of your positions.
Remember, the opposite could be true. You may find that the demands of your job have changed and your not happy. You may have been hired for a creative role and now you're managing people. Perhaps you hate managing people - and you'd be happier in a non-managerial role.
It's ok to be honest with yourself and know that you want less of something - especially if it leads to greater job and life satisfaction. It's also ok if this means you may not make as much money as you could - if you can swing that scenario with your financial situation you may just want to go for happiness.
- Do some blue sky thinking
You are more than your current job!
It's never too late to dream of a 'bigger' job - or even a different one. Use your journal to scope your future career options. What motivates you? Are you satisfied with where you are going? Where do you want to be in five years? In ten years? Is this an industry where you want to get to the top, or would you like a change? Are you motivated by money or by wanting to do good in the world? Maybe you would prefer a better life/work balance, or you want to travel.
Knowing the answers to these questions - and designing your life (ok so it's probably your financial life) around the answers is key to creating a fulfilling and contented life.
- Build a strategy
Once you’ve worked out where you want to go, you can use your journal to help plot a future that’s right for you. You self-evaluation, the documentation of your achievements and the things you might like to do if you could do anything will all help you build a strategy.
It may be that you want to sit tight at your current job so you can eventually move into a job that pays less but is more meaningful.
Or it might mean that you're not quite satisfied with your boss or your current responsibilities but like the company you work for and the industry. It might be time to do some research on internal jobs.
Perhaps you'll need to add some skills or certifications to your resume - are there courses you can take? Will the company for them? Your career journal will help you keep track of your possibilities - and track the best ones.
Or you may say it's time for a massive career change that can only be achieved through quitting and becoming the world's oldest intern. To which I say...Good Luck!
No matter what you decide to do, hashing it through before hand - on paper - will help you see how far you have gone (that's right -feel free to read through your thank you emails all you want) and give you a sense of where you want to go.