Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard some chatter around Marie Kondo’s book and new Netflix series, “[The Life-Changing Magic of] Tidying Up”. The idea behind master organizer Marie Kondo’s "KonMari Method” is this: "If an item in your space doesn’t spark joy when you hold it - thank it, and get rid of it." We ask whether this can be applied to jobs and if it can help or hinder your work-life balance. Let's explore the idea...
What is KonMari all about?
Since the series release, thousands of people have been sharing their unique experiences with Tidying Up. Through the experimentation process, people are evaluating their possessions, their lives, and asking the famous question from the KonMari method: “Does this spark joy?” In theory, after parting ways with the often-neglected items that are just taking up space, people free up their cluttered spaces and minds for a more peaceful and organized existence.
The concept of only keeping things that “spark joy” is certainly aspirational. As we are consistently inundated with advertising, social media, and consumerism, it’s easy to amass a lot of things that are not always joy-sparking long term. In fact, our stuff is slowly taking over our lives. If you've not watched the series, take a look at this Netflix trailer for Tidying Up:
One in ten Americans rent off-site storage to store more stuff. A full 25% can’t even fit their cars in a 2-car garage. Could parting ways with all the things that are no longer self-serving create more joy? And can this apply to our working lives? If we are struggling to find the right work-life balance, can we take the KonMari approach to jobs and our career?
Does this job spark joy?
As freeing as this theory might sound, it’s hard to apply it to every aspect of life. It’s unlikely that toilet cleaning sparks joy for most, but it remains an [encouraged] lifetime requirement. So what about careers that don’t spark joy? What would constitute as a job that doesn’t spark joy and what is the best way to manage that?
Let’s examine the makings of a job that does spark joy.
A job that sparks joy might allow you to work with people who inspire you. It might include work that excites you and aligns with your interests. Or, it might allow you to travel to new places and experience new things - transforming your work-life balance. Of course, it pays you a great salary. That generous PTO package that gives you a week longer than your friends for #selfcare? It has that too.
What if I hate my job?
But what about the job that requires you to work late hours? Or one that makes time move at a snail’s pace with the most uninteresting work you’ve ever done? Is the joy-draining job that helps someone pay their mortgage and feed their family worth throwing away?
Rather glamorizing throw-away culture, maybe it would be more productive to look at the less-than-joy-sparking aspects of work and life and evaluate the joy it can produce. Maybe working the drive-thru window on an icy winter day doesn’t get you fired up in the morning - but making someone’s day with a smile and great attitude could. Being able to take that paycheck and invest it in your dreams could definitely spark joy in the long run.
Focus on your own goals to reach a good work-life balance
Understanding that a boring ol’ job can be used as a tool to bring your bigger life goals into reality is a huge key to sustaining your energy at work. Especially when that work is less than inspiring. The future you want for yourself can be financed with the work you do now. Make a “future self” list or a dream board, if you’re the visual type. Refer to it often. That future can help inject joy into your daily life.
As it turns out, “joy” is multi-dimensional. It’s not something that can always be defined with a glance and soft touch. Joy is completely subjective. Even in the day-to-day grind, there can be joy in the journey, the outcome, or both.
Because we here at pepelwerk believe that sometimes you just need a job you can do now with the skill you have now, we want to match you with a job now. We might even match you with work that aligns with your purpose, meaning, and even joy, supporting your work-life balance. Especially if you put those hobby skills on your Talent Profile. Make sure you get started by downloading the pepelwerk app and let us get to work on matching you with your next job.
But, you really should clean out that closet!