Are you a journal writer? Do you keep them and read them from time to time? Or do they end up in the garbage or a firepit?
I’ve been a journal writer since I was young–like under ten years old young. My first ones were the standard little diaries with a lock my mom gave me. When I read them as a young adult, I laughed and cringed, and they eventually found their way to the trash. But I also kept journals. Poetry journals, quote journals, idea journals and journals I would attempt to write a book or a play within the blank pages.
As a forty-something-year-old woman who just went through a major move, I had the opportunity to sift through all my dozens of journals through the decades. I smiled, laughed, cried and was genuinely surprised at some of the stuff I’d written. A lot of it was my form of therapy–working through whatever drama was happening in my life at the time. But there was other stuff–good poems (and bad ones), attempts at novel ideas, short stories, pages of dialogue, scribbles and dreams.
Many of my journals had a theme, but others were random. I found one I never completed. I started it during my college years, (I graduated in 1997), and I used it in the following few years to jot down odd poetry and writing stuff. I made notes about publications that might want to buy my short stories. There were also websites, favorite quotes and book recommendations. And it was also the place I used to try and figure out what do for a job/career.
See, I was lost after college. I knew I wanted a creative life, (especially as a writer), but I didn’t know how to get one. (But that’s for a different blog post). When I read through this lavendar-covered spiral Mead notebook, I came across a few pages that caught my eye, and I knew I had to write about these notes I jotted down so long ago.
In my search for the right job/career for me, I listed each section accordingly. Keep in mind that I had no idea I was an INFJ. I only knew I lacked confidence and had a crapload of other issues at the time. But I must have gone through a workbook or a guide to help me figure out what I should do with my life.
I titled a section CAREER MUSTS and starred four different criteria:
*using experiences and talents to help people.
*short training time
*small organization or self-employed
*feeling fulfilled or happy.
And under CAREER MATCHES, I wrote:
*psychology–personal coach/counselor (under this one I wrote: not sure about it/if I could do it).
I’ve always loved the idea of entrepreneurship/self-employment, so I proceeded to write more about that. I wrote: 1–a good idea, find a niche and 2–provide service rather than a product. And, amusingly, along the side, I jotted down what I must have considered fun and offbeat jobs. (Wish I knew what book I was reading at the time).
Wow! These are interesting choices, some of which I have no idea what interested me about them, other than they were all kind of fun and quirky and I’d never heard of anyone making a living at any of them. If you know someone who has one of these jobs and can pay their bills, let me know. I’d especially love to meet a peacock farmer and a ghost hunter. I know they’re out there and I’d love to tag along with them for a day or two.
There were other sections of various books and websites that I must have deemed worthy enough to include. One of the books is Finding Your Perfect Work by Paul and Sarah Edwards.
The last section in this part of my journal included ten thoughts I must have found in what I was reading. I think they’re still good to think about today.
1 Do what you love
2 Provide a service to others who do what you love
3 Teach others to do what you love
4 Write about what you love
5 Speak about what you love
6 Create a product related to what you love
7 Sell what you love
8 Promote what you love
9 Organize what you love
10 Set up, repair, restore, fix or maintain what you love
Reading old journals can be entertaining and give you insight to the person you were when you wrote them. In this case, I learned that I wasn’t all that different when I wrote those career musts and ideas than I am now.
From the time of that journal until now, I’ve had a variety of jobs–animal caretaker, petsitter, warehouse worker, nanny, vintage business owner, maintenance worker and indie author. I never tried the peacock or boot business, but I do dabble in photography and I self-published a book of poetry. I am a writer and I love supporting and helping other writers and creatives. That may be my next job–writing coach, because I think I can do it.
I still believe in and love self-employment, despite all my traditional jobs. Or maybe because of them. I’ve embraced every job I’ve had and committed to each one. I believe in doing work you love, helping others and making a difference no matter what. And you can do that in any job. But now I want to focus on doing what my personality and soul has always desired. Teach, inspire, encourage and support with creativity. In my case, my writing. But also maybe in coaching and teaching.
Who knows what else I’ll discover along the way. Sometimes work finds us and sometimes we find ourselves doing things we never wrote about in a journal.
What are your career musts? What kinds of work have you done and do they align with who you are? And if you’ve ever had an offbeat job, I’d love to hear about it!