Career Journal: Importance of A Job Title

 

medium_5023787981

image by classblog

 

There is a famous saying for writers: “You are only as good as your last book.”

To apply it to careers, “You are only as good as your last job title.”

Let’s be honest. It’s a stupid way to measure a person, but alas, our corporations revolve around great many things that do not focus on individuals, but are rather about finding most efficient way to handle volume.

This is not an absolute fact. The type of jobs you may be able to get will depend a lot not only just on your experience, but your personality, your know-how of the market, and  your ability to network. But what if you are just applying for jobs through normal channels, such as online or through newspapers, like millions of people?

In that instance, the only thing your potential employer is seeing is your resume or the application.

And most companies tend to follow the rules, and do the things the way they have always done them. That means, someone in HR, probably an assistant, scans through the CVs, and in that quick glances, job titles is what that person would be looking for. If the titles seem relevant, then they may read the details.

Job titles, matter. 

They are the key words through which you are advertising yourself.

What that means is that when you take a new job, you need to consider not only the job itself, but also what the given title implies for your future opportunities.

During my early purchasing career, one of my first job titles was “Vendor Controller”. Vendor is a synonym for Supplier, so really, I was a Supplier Controller. However, one of the questions I got asked the most was, “So you deal with vending machines?”

Eventually, I just changed the title to “Supplier Controller” on my resume. If I’d known better, I would have done so from the very beginning. You can change the titles on your resume, but be aware that it may get confusing if  your potential employer calls that previous employer for a reference, and they both end up talking about different job titles. They may assume you were lying.

The best solution, instead, is to make sure that you have the right job title in each of your positions. You can negotiate this with your employer. The best timings for it are either when you start the job, or at promotion times, or when you take on added responsibilities. You need to be careful though, because your employer probably doesn’t want to hear that you are planning your next move.

However, to manage your job titles, and effectively manage your career, you need to know what your approach and strategies are going to be. That’s when a career journal comes in. If you are not sure how to keep a career journal or why you should keep one, read this article

Make a list of all your job titles up to your current position. If that was the only thing you knew about someone, what would that tell you? Do those title show a common theme, or are they all over the place? Do they show progression? Do they show someone who is moving up in the industry? Do they show someone who goes from one job to the next? Do they show stability?

Write down your thoughts. Think about what image just those titles are portraying to the person reading it.

Now think about the future job titles you want to have. Where do you want to end up in your chosen career? Make a note of potential job titles. 

Compare your existing job titles with your future job titles. Are they on the same trajectory? Can you see someone with your previous job titles, reaching your future job titles? 

If so, great. You are on the right path.

If not, or if you have doubts, you can start thinking about what you need to make your path to your future titles easier. What experience or what new job titles do you need to get? Do you need to change directions in your career? Do you need to participate in extra activities, or networking events? Come up with at least ten different things you can do to make your future job titles more attainable. 

 

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY

Get your career journal out, and start doing the above exercise. 

 

 

One Way to Become Instantly Happier

 

medium_3085999649

image by Eric Magnuson

 

 

Happiness is not static. It is an emotion, or rather it is a condition that arises from our emotions. It’s fluidity is what keeps us perpetually on the quest to be happy. Well, there are plenty of simple ways to become instantly happier, and one of the key ones is tried and tested: 

Count Your Blessings

Yup!

Count Your Blessings.

Get your journal out, and put a header on top that says, “Blessings” or “Things I’m Grateful For” or something along those lines. Now set a timer for at least ten minutes, and start writing. Don’t stop. Keep making that list. Trust me, you have plenty to be grateful for. 

Basic necessities included, because there are plenty of people who don’t have food, water, and shelter. If you have them, if you are never worried that you may not be able to have dinner tonight, then that’s a blessing. 

If you know for certain there are people who love you, who will stand by you, and who want you to see happy…that’s a blessing. 

Do you have a regular income that support you and your family? That’s a blessing. Just because it doesn’t stretch far enough for the vacations you may like to take, or the things you want to buy for fun, doesn’t mean that what you have isn’t good. 

Are you healthy? Are you mobile? Are you able to appreciate good food, good company, and good books?

Are you protected by law? 

Are you, within reason, free to live your life as you wish? 

Are you free to pursue your dreams?

There are so many little things that we take for granted, but would miss dreadfully if they were taken away from us. By focusing on your blessings, you may learn to appreciate those little things – and realise, that you may take for granted, may be a luxury to someone else. 

Let’s be clear: I’m not saying you should be content with what you have, and not aspire for more. Of course not. After all, this blog is about Kaizen Journaling, about continuous improvement, and about always striving for something. But what I’m suggesting is that you appreciate what you have, value it, and still keep striving for whatever you want. 

So get that journal and pen…and start counting your blessings. 

 

 

 

5 Ways To Get Out of the Self-Pity Cycle

 

medium_5387433460

image by timmy2wheels

 

Think about the times when you are feeling down. Everything seems to be going wrong. Other people have things so easy. You don’t understand why when you barely start turning things around, things go wrong.

Life seems to just pick you for its cruel tricks.

Do you feel like that?

What do you do when you do? Do you sit alone, moping over it? Do you complain – constantly – to your friends and family? Or do you not even do that, and just spend time on your own, because you think they are all too happy to listen to your miserable tales? 

Do post messages on Facebook, expecting sympathy and understanding?

Do you write in your journal about how life is shit?

Do you wonder, why things always go badly for you?

If you’ve answered “yes” to most of the above questions – you have a problem. And no, not the problem you think. No doubt your life has problems. But so do most people!! 

Yes believe it or not, even the happy looking ones – those who seem to be earning ten times more than you, or have that gorgeous wife/husband and well-behaved children, that nice house that  you envy, or those who seem to go on holidays three times a  year…..they all have problems. Perhaps not the same problems as you, but their problems are just as serious to them ,as yours are to you.

If you are spending most of your time wallowing in your misery, then you are just convincing yourself, over and over again, how bad things are for you, and getting deeper and deeper in the cycle of self-pity. 

Self-pity has never done anyone good, and it’s not going to change things for you. The only thing self-pity accomplishes is that it makes you feel more sorry for yourself, and it convinces you that no one else gets it, and you are just so miserable. So you go on being miserable.

If you keep ending up in continuous streams of self-pity, then what you need is tough love. You need to get in the habit of giving yourself that tough love. 

 

5 Things You Should Do To Get Out Of The Self-Pity Cycle

 

Focus on Solutions Not Problems

Don’t obsess over how bad things are for you. Obsess over what you can do about it. Because yes, you can. History is full of people who have come through unimaginable suffering and hardships and made something of their lives. 

Value Your Loved Ones

Don’t neglect your loved ones. People who stand by you, people who love you no matter what, don’t deserve to be neglected, just because you feel the need to pit yourself. It doesn’t matter how much you think you don’t need other people, everyone wants to be loved. Humans are social animals, and there are times when we need someone to hold us and say everything will be okay, or just listen to us. So the people who love you, like your family and friends, are the people you need to spend time with when you are feeling down. But don’t just make it about you. Don’t be centred only on your misery. Remember that they have lives too, which is just as important to them as yours is to you.

Surround Yourself With Positive People

I’ve written about this a couple of times here, and no doubt I will again in the future. Because it is important. Surround yourself with the right people, and half your battles are won. Surround yourself with people who love life, who have dreams and ambitions, and who are always ready with a smile. Of course, then you need to be the kind of person they would want to hang out with, because these types of people don’t like miserable company. 

Miserable, negative company drags you down. People who are always focusing on the negatives, tend to drag down the general mood of their surroundings with them. They leach happiness and enthusiasm away from those who are near them. Don’t be one of those leeches.

Be instead, the person, who infuses their environment with enthusiasm and possibilities. And surround yourself with others like that. 

Look for Patterns in Your Behaviour

If you have been keeping journals regularly, then you already have all the information you need. Look through your journals. Look for patterns. Are you talking about same problems over and over again? Sometimes for years? Pay attention to the language you’ve used. Are you always blaming the circumstances? Questioning destiny or God? Are you always blaming other people? 

If you don’t have journals to look through, just pick up pen and paper, and think back to  your experiences. Write down what you remember. Be completely honest. This is for your benefit. You don’t need to show it to anyone, and you don’t need to justify it. So be honest, because if you lie to try to make yourself look better, you are only fooling y ourself. 

Accept Responsibility 

I can’t stress this enough. You and you alone are responsible for your life. Sure, you may get unexpected problems that weren’t in your control, but how you react to them is entirely in your control. It is your life, and how well you live it – or don’t – is on you. On no one else. So decide today, if you are going to accept responsibility not just for your life, but for your happiness. Yes, we need other people to be happy – but getting those people in your life, cultivating those relationships, is on you. So ultimately, your life = your responsibility. 

 

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY

Go through these five steps. Gain awareness of where you are, on the scale of wallowing in self-pity, and then start taking action. Starting with accepting responsibility. 

 

 

 

How Conformity Relates To Self-Esteem

 

 

medium_6704486315

image by qu1j0t3

 

We live in a society that encourages fitting in. Conformity is not only encouraged but insisted upon in most major institutions of life. This starts at childhood. Most people want to fit in school, and there are very few students, who come out of schools with a positive experience, without fitting in. It continues as you grow up, go to higher education, and then enter the working life. Companies advertise that they want people who are creative, people who think outside the box, people who look at things with new perspective. But stray too far away from the box, or even worse, try to ignore the box given to you and attempt to create your own box, and you will be quickly reigned in.

Conformity is a requirement to succeed. As long as you want success that is commonly defined by majority of people.

What this does is that you end up saying things you know people want to hear. You talk about football, because you know your boss is a big fan. You talk about politics, because your father-in-law is into it, and you’re trying to impress him. You talk about theatre, because your friends are all culture buffs and you don’t want to appear any less cosmopolitan. Whereas the truth is, if it was entirely up to you, you would have talked about knitting and dogs and the latest episodes of Game of Thrones. So why don’t you?

Why do you spend time pretending to like things you don’t?

Why do you spend time attempting to care one bit about things you really care nothing about?

Why do you attempt to impress people by being something you are not? This is the paradox. Everyone wants to be liked and even loved for themselves. They want people – family, friends, lovers – to accept them just as they are, and yet they spend majority of time showing these people they care about, a side of them that is completely fake.

This behaviour has more to do with you, than with other people. By forcing yourself to conform, you are telling yourself that what you are isn’t good enough. You are telling yourself that your interests and hobbies aren’t interesting enough, and so you must borrow theirs to sound more interesting. You are telling yourself that you need to pretend to be better than you are for people to be impressed by you, or like you, or even love you.

This isn’t about your interests. It’s about your self-esteem.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t need to improve. Every one does. And you should always try to improve yourself, and be on a perpetual journey to become the best person you can be. But that need, desire and motivation for improvement should come from within, not because you want to impress someone.

Conformity is not all bad. For a society to survive as a whole, for families and friendships and relationships to function, you have to conform to a certain extent and consider needs of the others. I’m not advocating selfishness. I’m however advocating individuality. Conformity should never become perpetual sacrifice. It should never feel like that you are going against your conscious or covering up the essence of who you are, just to fit in.

If you have healthy self-esteem, if you believe you are worthy of love and affection just as you are, then you won’t settle for relationships that require conformity to succeed.

If you have healthy self-esteem, you will have the confidence to know that you can voice your opinions, you can talk about your interests, be honest about who you are, and still make friends, or succeed at work, or make your family proud of you.

Think about this. Journal about how much you conform, for whom, and how much it costs your individuality.

Think about how your self-esteem relates to your willingness to conform.

Think about whether you think you are worthy of love and affection, just as you are.

 

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY

Ponder the ideas mentioned above in your journal. This isn’t a quick exercise. Figuring out connections between your self-esteem and conformity, figuring out how much importance you place on fitting in, and figuring out how much of your self-improvement is intrinsically motivated and how much is externally motivated is a tricky thing. It can take years in most cases, but all it requires is the first step to get started. So start today.

 

 

365 Days of Journaling – FREE UPDATE WITH BONUS PROMPTS

 

365 days of journaling

 

Many of you may be familiar with my 365 Days of Journaling e-book. I had some great feedback from you guys when it was first published, and among that feedback was one very useful email about how some people were unable to use picture prompts. As a result of that, I’d decided already that I would do an updated version with additional prompts.

It’s taken a while, but it’s finally here. The updated version of 365 Days of Journaling.

This update is completely FREE for everyone who’s already purchased 365 Days of Journaling. Please send me your receipt (it should be easily available either in your email, or through your paypal account), and I will send you a free copy of the new book. 

For those of you who haven’t yet bought the book, I hope if you choose to buy it, you will find it useful.

 

 

Why You Need A Life Purpose, And Why Having It Keeps You Going

 

origin_2280605433

image by yolaleah

 

A life purpose, personal calling, something that you are born to do…there are so many ways to describe it. Some people believe it’s a spiritual or even religious thing. Others believe it comes from their genetic pre-dispositions and personality. Whatever you want to call it, and wherever it comes from, the fact remains that having a purpose changes your life.

When you have a purpose, something you desperately want to do and succeed at, your entire life makes sense.

You know where you want to go, even if you have no idea how to get there. Setbacks are heart-breaking, but when you have a true purpose beating in-sync with the beat of your heart, they don’t stop you permanently. You can fall down. You can fail. You can get rejected. But then you get up once more, and you keep moving forward. That’s the strength that the true purpose gives you.

Why? How does this work?

I believe it works because your absolute dream, your purpose, is linked to who you really are, or who you want to be. It is propelled by intrinsic motivation. It promises a fulfilment of need within you that you may or may not be aware of.

You know that this is the thing that makes you happy, more than anything else. You know that this is the achievement you want before you die. You know that pursuit of this dream, of this purpose, is worth the life you exchange for it. 

Your life purpose aligns perfectly with your WHY. When you have that, when you know what you want to do with your life, it seems absolutely stupid not to do it, and to not keep trying, no matter how many times you fail. When you know your purpose, it is completely idiotic to waste your life doing other things. Because working towards achieving your life’s purpose, your ultimate ambition, brings a different kind of joy, a satisfaction as if you are exactly where you should be. 

It doesn’t mean that you don’t feel the sting of failure, or that you don’t get depressed by rejections, or by lack of understanding from your loved ones. It doesn’t mean that you don’t have doubts, and days when you want to quit the whole thing and do whatever’s easy. It doesn’t mean that there is guarantee of success. 

But you do it anyway. 

Because you have discovered your life’s purpose. 

You are the lucky one.

There are so many people, with great resources and abilities, who have no idea what they want to do. Therefore, having that awareness of your personal calling is a huge achievement. 

As Paulo Coelho said in Author’s Note to The Alchemist: 

“Why is it so important to live our personal calling if we are only going to suffer more than other people? Because once we have overcome the defeats – and we always do – we are filled with a greater sense of euphoria and confidence. In the silence of our hearts, we know that we are proving ourselves worthy of the miracle of life. Each day, each hour, is part of the good fight. We start to live with enthusiasm and pleasure. Intense, unexpected suffering passes more quickly than suffering that is apparently bearable; the latter goes on for years and, without our noticing, eats away at our soul, until, one day, we are no longer able to free ourselves from the bitterness and it stays with us for  the rest of our lives.”

 

 

Journaling Exercise: How Does Your Surrounding Impact You

 

medium_4326541391

image by stuckincustoms

 

 

The nature vs. nurture debate is decades old, but it is obvious that our surroundings do have an impact on our life, and our minds. Think about coming home to a complete mess, with dirty dishes and dirty clothes everywhere, months worth of grime, rotten food, and cockroaches. How lovely would that feel?

What if instead you came home to a beautiful, tidy place that makes you want to relax, makes you feel like you are home?

Think about the places where you feel most productive. If you are like many people, it’s unlikely to be the blue (they are almost always blue) cubical walls in your company office. Perhaps you have a favourite café where you like to work, or a library where you feel inspired, or just your own private study.

What about places for a romantic evening with your partner? 

What about the place for a good night’s sleep? 

We don’t have different rooms just because we live in a consumer society. We have different rooms, because psychologically, different rooms are supposed to serve different purpose, and therefore make all our activities more productive and pleasant. 

For today’s journaling exercise, think about your surroundings. Regular places where you spend most of your days. This may include particular rooms of your house, such as your bedroom, or living room, or study, your place of work, train or bus or car if you are a commuter, favourite places you hang out on the weekend. 

Make a list of all these places. 

Now think about how each of these places makes you feel. What impact does it have on your mood? Focus on the feelings. How do you feel? Relaxed, energetic, tired, annoyed, frustrated? 

Does your surrounding actually change your mood?

For example, you may come home annoyed from work, but just walking into your living room soothes you. 

Which of these places give you positive energy, and which of them give you negative energy? 

What can you do to make each of these spaces work better for you? Or do you need to perhaps change your surroundings? 

Look at places, your surroundings, as a live thing. As if it’s a person. And write about the role it plays in your life.