Before you quit your job get clear on how you got to this crossroad in your career, why it happened, and then take action with a career transition journal.

If You’re Stuck in a Career Rut You Need to Shop for This

You’ll want to start a career transition journal if want a new job or career. For example, if you aren’t happy about returning to work after maternity leave you’re going to want to go shopping for a new journal. If you’re unchallenged at work and you’re thinking about changing career fields you’ll want to start writing in a journal. If your job isn’t worth leaving your child for every day you have some work to do in your journal.

Go Shopping for the Right Journal

If you don’t already have a journal it’s time to go shopping! You need to find the perfect journal that you’ll look forward to writing in. Answer these questions to find your best fit:

  1. Do you prefer lined paper or blank pages?
  2. Do you like a large page to write on like an 8×10 page size? Or would you prefer to write on 5×7 or smaller?
  3. Should the cover be hardcover because you’ll be writing on your lap? Or do you plan on traveling with your journal and paperback is needed?
  4. What color do you want? Do you want inspirational writing on it or just blank?

Last, you’ll want a pen that feels good in your hand. The kind that you will go searching your house for because it feels so good. Do you not like the permanence of pen? Then a good old fashion #2 pencil may suit your style.

Now that you have the supplies, it’s time to get to work.

Write About Why You Want to Change Jobs or Careers

At the top of each page write one reason why you like your job, and then move on to what you don’t like. Then go back to page one and list the pros and cons for each like and dislike. Keep going until you can’t think of anything else to add.

Does anything jump out at you?  Did you become aware of something new?

What is Making You Unhappy?

Is it the current position you dislike or your career in general? Is there a new position you want to go for but missed out on? Would you be happy with the same type of a job at a different company or do you need to change your career path?

These are tough questions, huh.

Related: How to Hit the Road Running After Maternity Leave

What Are Your Strengths and How Are You Using Them?

If you aren’t working on something you are good at perhaps you feel incompetent.  That’s a yucky feeling.  How could you change this?

Not sure what your strengths are?  Make a list of everything that you are exceptionally good at.  Don’t limit this to career strengths, include everyday things like your home life and personal relationships.  What do people come to you for both inside and outside of work?  Make this list as long as possible; really stretch your mind.  When you review this list you should be smiling ear to ear.  You should feel like you want to tell the world how awesome you are (because you are!) and you have a list to prove it!

What Type of Job(s) Would You Like to Have?

No job is too big or too small.  Do not allow fear to creep in either!  This is your opportunity to go crazy and dream! Has anyone ever said to you, “Ya know, you should be a …” or “You should get into …”?  If so, write that down.

This brainstorming session doesn’t have to occur in one sitting.  The goal isn’t to rush through this process to quickly find an answer.  Dedicate time to think about it like on your way to work, while you brush your teeth, on your lunch break or while folding laundry.

Related: How to Tackle Motherhood Transitional Challenges

Involve your support system to go through this exercises or for them to watch the kid(s) so you can have alone time to think.  Move your body like going for a walk, with no children or music and concentrate on this challenge.  Meditate on it.

Things will start to evolve as you work through this process.   I know because this is what I went through.  I tried to take naps when I could and even spent my lunch breaks in my car meditating.  It felt good to get a handle on how I felt about my career.  And it was scary when I realized the path I had worked so hard on wasn’t the right path anymore.  I had no “next step”.

But with the support of my support team and coach and many days of blogging and journaling, a light bulb turned on.  And I know that light will turn on for you, too, you just need to commit yourself to power it on.

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