Don’t Use Your Job to Define You

One of the first things people ask you after your name or where are you from is what you do for a living. It’s small talk 101. We tend to ask people what they do in order to quickly make a picture of who they are. It gives us a idea of how they spend their time but also perhaps what they are interested in and passionate about.

But here’s the big issue. If there is one thing that shouldn’t define you – next to other people – is your job.

There are many reasons why this is an issue:

  1. It makes it seem that without this job, you are missing a piece of yourself.
    Which you are not. You are a complete being without this job or any job. Society makes it seem that without a job, you provide little or less worth to the table. This could not be further from the truth. You are worthy and a part of society just by existing. We place too much value on what we have achieved in our careers rather than what we have achieved in life and how far we have come emotionally.
  2. It implies that the job is an integral part of your existence.
    A job is just how you decided to play this (if I dare to say capitalist) game in society. It is almost impossible to get by without a paying job and many of us scramble to find ones we find the less painful. To then expect at the same time that the job gives you purpose and direction is almost asking too much. You can find so much purpose around your job, it doesn’t have to be the job itself. A job, is a replaceable, disposable, time limited element of your life. It cannot and was never meant to be the most important part of it. If an employer can let you go from one day to the other so should you be able to let go of that job.
  3. It indicates that your job is a result of all your achievements and hard work.
    Which it is not and can never be. Some skills you picked up mixed in being at the right place at the right time while getting along with the recruiting manager and the hiring manager. Sometimes its just plain old luck. It is a mere snapshot in time of skills needed that you may have. But you have many more other tools in the shed that may even reflect your achievements better.
  4. It makes job seems important.
    Which they are not. You are. The people around you are. Your happiness is. Your contribution to making the world better is. I often find people think it’s more important to be good at your job for example rather be mean to people to meet a deadline, rather than to be a good person. At the end of the day, you will have to learn to live with yourself for the person that you have been. Not the deadlines you haven’t met.

Jobs are a way of means. If you found passion in yours, it is the passion that defines you. Not the work that you do. Distance yourself from your job, that way no matter how it goes, how it turns out, you will be reminded that you are still you. Jobs are disposable, but you my dear reader are not.

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