Career Decluttering

Have you read Marie Kondos’ book yet? 

Her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing is about getting rid of the things you do not need in your life. Ever since I read it, I stopped buying material things. While I did not give away everything I owned, I was inspired by the book’s message. 

My New Mantra

The new mantra for me was that I am going to focus on experiences rather than material things. My life’s tune became, I do not need anything new. 2020 with all its woes confirmed the value of this tune. I did not touch many of my fancy dresses and amazing shoes – particularly those high heels which I started wearing to pandemic outings, doctors’ visits and grocery stores but gave up on that by the end of last April. I still own the shoes in 2021 and I miss wearing them so I am glad I kept them. I like to think that Marie would agree.

A New Career Mantra

Working in the Career Development field, I spent time thinking whether can we apply Kondo’s mantra or KonMari ‘s method to the career segment of our lives. One of Kondo’s quotes that got me going in my career comparison:

“To put things in order means to put your past in order”

Marie Kondo

KonMari Inspired Career Tips

Here are some of the tips that resonated and can lead you to career well-being:

  1. Go through every experience in your life on a regular basis. Ideally every three months. While I do not wait for three months, I think about my previous experiences whenever I feel discouraged by a new experience.
  2. No matter your age, fifteen or fifty, you have accumulated a lot of experiences: describe your experiences, think about the emotions that each experience evokes and why. Identify these experiences, whether you choose to pinpoint every detail in a four-paragraph essay or list them in a point system the major breakthroughs/lessons learned is up to you and your style of writing.
  3. As you go through your portfolio or resume, create two columns: place the explorations and experiences that you termed as ‘bad’ or as ‘ones that you do not care to repeat’ in one column. Use the other ‘awesome’ experiences column for the ones that you want to keep. If you have experiences that are somewhere in between yes/no, add a third, ‘maybe’, column. Give each experience a name/title. Some title examples include, engaged book shelving, catastrophic bank teller experience, exciting mentorship…
  4. Take out the experiences that you do not care to repeat. Think about each experience and ask questions such as, was it the actual work or the way the boss treated you that made the bank experience catastrophic? Or simply ask yourself, “what did I hate about this job?”
  5. Keep the experiences that made you happy. Try to understand why they made you happy. Why do you want to keep them in your portfolio? For instance, what was it about your book shelving job that made it engaging? Was it your love for books or the team spirit among the library staff?

Sort Through Your Mind

Marie Kondo talks about going to people’s houses and looking through their disorganized closets one item at a time. Our mind is like these closets and we need to sort through it every once in a while. While you may not be able to completely declutter your mind, the constructive purpose is to declutter unfavorable jobs and utilize positive work experiences as building blocks for your career path. How do you accomplish this?



If you have read any of my blogs, you have probably guessed the answer: Reflect. 

“The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t”

Marie Kondo

This quote is could be what the KonMari method is all about. It is what I recommend you practice with your experiences. Take out the experiences that you don’t want or don’t care to repeat.

Enjoy the experience of reflecting and use the five tips to create your own method for uncovering your valuables. Share your experience looking into your past, help others declutter their mind and reach career happiness. Feel free to reach out for more tips.

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