This week I’ve been sparked to assess and discard games, puzzles, old paint cans, decorations from assorted holidays, old coffee pots and ignored camping gear from an area of our home that’s been easier to avoid than organize. What motivated this burst of energy? I’ve been reading, and frankly, talking back to, Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.”

I can’t help but interpret every section like it’s a book about careers! Perhaps that’s because I gravitate to personal and professional development books, and as they say, “When all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” Is it just me? I’d love to know what you think!

A section within the Why Can’t I keep My House In Order chapter is called Selection Criterion: Does it Spark Joy?

Kondo asks, “What standard do you use to decide what to get rid of?” She offers that you could discard things when they cease being functional or when they are out of date. “Yup…she’s definitely referring to jobs,” I thought. “If someone isn’t functioning at the highest level or feels that their assignments or their approach is out of date, it would definitely be time for a change!” Then Kondo went on to advise:

“Take each item in one’s hand and ask: ‘Does this spark joy?’ If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.”

Wow! What a great way of evaluating your current job and your overall career! I often work work with clients who are trying to decide whether to stick with a current job, or to move on. What they should really be considering is, “does my job spark joy?”

No one can feel joy in every task every day. But, if you find yourself in a position where you rarely feel joy, it’s time to re-evaluate. Here’s an exercise inspired by Kondo, to help with your assessment.

1) Write down all the tasks that your job entails. Include the projects that are listed on your job description and those that got added to your plate along the way.

2) Rate each task using a very simple scale: dread, meh and joy. You might translate those to 1, 2 and 3 where you rate a task you hate a 1 (dread). Use 2 for anything that you’re indifferent about (meh). And then there are the 3’s! This is where the magic lies! These are tasks that fill you with joy!

3) Now comes the hard part! (Sorry. Keeping your career house in order can be hard work. But it’s worth it!) Think about how you can shape your career to discard or minimize the 1’s and 2’s while filling your days with more 3’s! JOY!

If you have mostly 3’s – then congratulations! But if your list is dominated by 1’s and 2’s , I highly recommend setting a December goal of researching how to create more joy in your life! Start by researching opportunities within your current job or company. Next, search LinkedIn job postings, Indeed or Glassdoor for jobs that use those skills that light you up!

Did you notice that I didn’t suggest setting a New Year’s Resolution? That I recommended starting now?! Here’s the title of another section in Kondo’s book: The Moment You Start You Reset Your Life.

What do you think? Is this a book about tidying or a book about careers?!