I chanced upon a journal documenting my job search process years ago while doing spring cleaning recently. It’s kept across 12 sheets of ruled paper slightly smaller than that of an A5 size, stapled together.

On the first sheet of paper, written across two lines were the words “Ultimate Dream 1”. Below the page was split into six cells, concept, experience, finance, skills, leverage and final aim. I do not remember what sort of framework I was using, and I wonder why this particular six cells even.

The second sheet of paper was my current pay scale. I’m not sure why this was part of the journal, but perhaps, I was already considering a pay cut to move into my new job.

The rest of the sheets were filled with text – beginning with a date, often followed by a reflection of what happened in the day, ending with some action items. The first few sheets listed down the skills and values that I possess (Didn’t know I actually found resources on how to identify a job that I like at that time). Some sheets had a list of people I wanted to meet, others contain a list of reasons – why stay with the current job and why leave for a new job.

Some sheets had words of motivation in it’s footnotes:

“You are the Only One who can help yourself!”

“加油”

Others were filled with food for thoughts:

“How will I face delinquent students?”

“Am I really sufficiently good in Math to teach students?”

“How will I be able to face parents?”

What amazed me was that that the 12-sheet journal spans 2 years 9 months!

On the final page was a reflection dated more than 1 year 4 months after the previous entry. I’m not sure why I did that but it penned down something that triggered my thoughts:

I read my previous journal {sic} on my work-search, or should I say, ‘passion’-search journey. Looks like, there is a possibility of getting the best of four world {sic} teaching in the poly.

It’s not just a job search.

It’s a search for what I like, what I can do well, what I can contribute to the work and what pays me.

Come to think of it. Isn’t that ikigai? And that’s way before this book has been published.