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The Jobseeker's Konmari Method: A Different Way to Choose the Right Job

by Colleen Cox PT, DPT

In her book, Marie Kondo explained that you organize your house by section. For instance, start with your clothes, take them all out of your closet, and put them in a pile. This way, you can organize each type of item instead of missing something if you keep your clothes in multiple rooms. Then, hold each item in your hands one at a time, and determine if it sparks joy. Kondo says, “Keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. Thank them for their service – then let them go.” By the end of the book, my husband helped me carry multiple trash bags down three flights of stairs from our apartment to take to the salvation army.

After implementing the KonMari method I felt great. All the clutter in our apartment that was taking up space in my brain was no longer an issue. It was a liberating feeling to not be weighed down by the things you own; items that are no longer serving a purpose. It gave me the mental energy to focus on what is truly important and enjoy what I truly love. After all, unless you truly, deeply love an item, it has no business in your home.

I have consistently maintained the KonMari method for a year now. If you were to open one of my dresser drawers, you would see my origami folded clothes. If I go to the store, I am more intentional when shopping and consider if it “sparks joy” before bringing it home. My home is consistently clean and peaceful now.

Following two jobs that were less than desirable, I began exploring other career options and settings in physical therapy. I considered EVERYTHING. I wanted to be a utilization reviewer, a clinic director, a PRN therapist in multiple settings, do cash pay, the list goes on. It all sounded great, anything that would get me out of my current situation. I realized however if I applied for everything and took the first job offer, I might end up in the same circumstances.

I was discussing all these possible career paths with my friend, frustrated because I was unsure of which direction to go. After listening she said, “why don’t you use that KonMari method.” I responded, “what do you mean?” She said, “Well, don’t you hold each item and determine if it sparks joy? Why don’t you do that for each career path and job you are looking into?”

It was an epiphany. I fixed the clutter in my home, but I hadn’t fixed the clutter in my career. How do you pick up a career or job and determine if it sparks joy? That’s rather an abstract concept.

1.Assess how you arrived

The first and most important thing was I had to figure out how I got to this point. I realized that I had been on a plan my whole life. I have the typical story of someone in physical therapy. I took all the courses to get into PT school in college, then got into PT school. I graduated from PT school, then got my first job as a new grad. I had a five-year plan that I mapped out in my last semester as a PT student.

What I didn’t realize is that that plan eventually stopped and I somehow found myself in a job doing the same thing over and over with no fulfillment or joy. After all, if something doesn’t spark joy, you should thank it for its service and let it go.

2. Follow the steps

Secondly, I had to follow the same method for each job or career path I to determine if it was truly my passion. I’ve adapted the KonMari method for job seeker purposes.

  1. Commit fully to tidying your career
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle:
    1. What are you doing each day?
    2. What is your schedule? Are you working with people or doing remote work?
    3. If you are a clinician, what is your patient population?
    4. Are you doing administrative work?
    5. Where are you practicing or working?
    6. Are you your own boss?
    7. Are you working for a hospital or private practice?
  3. Write down every single possibility you are considering.
  4. Tidy by each job individually and give it your full and undivided attention.
  5. Close your eyes, imagine you are doing that job. Create everything that job entails: the commute, your co-workers, the patient population, (or lack thereof) the paperwork, the setting, the treatment approach in this setting. Fully immerse yourself in that job. Take your time to imagine walking through each day.
  6. Does it spark joy? (Don’t allow more than a few seconds to decide this, your gut should tell you immediately.)
  7. Discard any job that does not spark joy and thank it for its service.

Once I followed this method, it was so simple and easy to discard the paths that did not spark joy. It took all those expensive career finder courses, career counseling, coaching and boiled it down to one question: What is your passion? This exercise allowed me to be honest with myself and not choose a career path because of the pay, prestige, or for an easy job offer. Once I found what truly sparked joy, I could focus fully on my passion.

After connecting with other PTs, I realized that I was not alone in my frustration with my career and what the next step would be. I want to share this concept with other mid-career PTs that are lost by allowing them to use their inner compass. Because ultimately, we spend a third of our life at work, it should be doing something that sparks joy.

  1. Kondo, M. (n.d.). About - KonMari. Retrieved January 12, 2020, from
  2. 10 places to get job leads. (n.d.). Retrieved January 12, 2020, from


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