It is estimated the average adult will change jobs numerous times throughout their working life. Some jobs will be better than others and time has a bad habit of blurring things from our memories. Rather than relying on an old memory, consider keeping a journal about your career. Write down details about anything that happens, good or bad, and keep records of any witnesses so that you can refresh yourself, and others, should the need arise.
Keep a Record On Negative Aspects in your Career Journal:
Whether you have been with a company for 20 years, or are just starting out, if something negative happens on the job, make a journal entry about it. Whether it was an injury, something that made you uncomfortable, or just an irate customer who caught you on a bad day, keep a personal career journal about the event. Be sure to list everything about the event you can think of. If there was an injury involved, write down everything that happened-before, during and after. Be sure to list the names of any doctors you went to see and any medications, treatment and prescriptions you were given. Even something as simple as a twisted ankle may weaken a tendon so that you have an unexpected ongoing problem. If you have everything recorded in a journal, you can refer back to it if you have to file for a worker’s comp claim or social security disability claim ten years later.
You should also record things such as an incident where a boss or co-worker made you uncomfortable, or had you do something that was not within your job description. You should also consider recording anything unusual about anything you witness on the job even if you were not involved. Your career journal may never be needed to defend yourself or someone else, but it is a great tool to see how your career evolves over the years.
Keep a Record of Positive Aspects in Your Career Journal:
Your career journal should also reflect any positive events that happen throughout your career. If you receive a raise or promotion, record the date and the circumstances surrounding the positive event. There is nothing worse than trying to remember a date of a promotion or pay raise when you are trying to fill out a job application or trying to apply for unemployment benefits.
Different Types of Career Journals:
There are many ways to keep a career journal. One of the easiest ways is to combine your career journal with your private journal. This way, you only have to make a single entry a day. Another idea is to keep an electronic log within a program such as Outlook. You can make entries on the day something happens. Just be sure to back up the journal regularly and take it with you when you change computers or work areas. Another idea is to keep a simple notebook where you can jot down dates and times. There is something comforting about the simple act of writing that can help you get over a bad patch. Just the act of writing it down will help you to put things in perspective is something that happened at work is bothering you.
You may never need to go back and look through your career journal. Then again, your career journal may actually help you to save your job. If you have to leave your job under a condition such as a hostile work environment, your journal can provide a record that will stand up in court if you go before a judge for compensation or have to sue for unemployment. By having a factual historical career journal, you can show a judge how someone had been harassing you over the course of years along with documentation of how you tried to stop the harassment.
Your career journal can also help you if you ever decide to write your memoirs. It can jog your memory to some long forgotten event that could turn your book into a best seller or help you relive that time you won the Employee of the Year award.