Sunday, March 19, 2017

You Are Not Your Job

When someone first asked you as a child what did you want to be when you grew up, chances are you did not take your self-identity into consideration when you attempted to answer that question. Your response was likely whimsical or random because your self-concept had not yet been formed.

That's not the case when you get older. The perspectives that others hold of you, coupled with the developing perspectives you hold of yourself, align with your professional undertakings. Soon, what you are doing professionally shapes your identity. The perceptions that are associated with a particular job, or type of job, are woven into the fabric of your identity.

But is it your true identity?

The truth is that what we do (professionally) accounts for only one dimension of who we are. Because we are all multidimensional, our work identities only envelop us by choice and does so at the lack of development of our whole selves. You bring who you are to your job; your job does not bring your identity to you. 

When we allow our jobs to be all consuming (i.e., the focal point of our lives), the importance of our jobs become magnified. This is why job loss is the top cause of depression for adults. Lose your job, lose your identity - which brings home this point: You are not your job. A job is something that you do, and can end at any given time. Jobs refine us, but they don't define us.