Today I give you a book recommendation on The Joy of Less by Francine Jay or, in other terms, a book on minimalism.
What does minimalism have to do with job hunting? We’ll soon learn quite a bit, but first let’s think back to when humans started caring about living a minimalist lifestyle or a lifestyle in which you only own and do things that are useful and/or brings you joy.
I suspect humans have been looking for ways to control the anxieties that can come with owning lots of things for centuries, if not millennia. Even our nomadic ancestors likely carted just as much stuff (if not more since tools weren’t as advanced) than what current Mongolian nomads do today.
Though minimalism has been a lifestyle ideal of ours for a long time, I’ve only grown to understand and actively practice it over the last five years. The Joy of Less book has helped me to provide structure around what it means to live simply. She not only explains the philosophy behind it, but also takes the reader through a typical Western home room by room (no Mongolian gers here) breaking down the de-cluttering process.
Five years ago when I was still in business school, I started an eBay store selling items I bought myself years before or were given to me to sell as way to pay off my student loans. Today I’m still running that eBay store to not so much pay down my loans, but rather keep me afloat during the drawn out job hunting process.
What may be surprising to a lot of people is that as I continue to pare down my belongings I don’t feel like I’m missing out or deprived of my things—and I owned some beautiful things (still do). On the contrary, with each item that’s sold or given away that I’m no longer responsible for, the lighter and less burdened I feel. I’ve become more focused on what it really means to live a full life.
I now apply the same minimalist approach when I consider future employers. Years prior I would have clicked ‘apply’ to any HR Specialist role within an organization that had a Phoenix presence without asking myself the eight [highly adapted] questions the author proposes before buying a new item:
These questions are powerful and should be asked not only of the things you consider to buy, but also of the most important time commitment you can make in your life—your work.
P.S. One thing that stood out like a sore thumb in the book is the author's take on gifts--it's downright sketchy and deceptive! You've been forewarned...