Over at Working Virtually Julie Hubert, who is chronicling her journey toward building an online virtual assistant career, commented...
My self-esteem, primarly, has been based on my jobs, like so many of us. I am progressing, slowly but surely, in changing that way of thinking.
I meet so many people who base their identities on their careers. "I am _______ (fill in the blank with your title)" becomes a handy shorthand for who we are. And invariably that leads to trouble.
I had one recently retired client who came to me because, after so many years of basing his identity and his perception of himself and his place in the world on his job, he felt lost without it. He didn't know who he was without the title and the role to identify with, and he was looking for meaning and focus for his post-career years. That's not uncommon.
There's nothing wrong with identifying strongly with your work. The big question is, are you your job, or is your job you?
If you are your job - i.e., you take your identity from your title, or your role, etc. - you're setting yourself up for trouble. First, the obvious - you're "offshoring" your identity. Which means it's a surface level identity, and that's vulnerable. It's like wearing make-up. It's fine until you get caught in the rain, and then suddenly it's dribbling down your face. Laid off? Whoops! Who are you now?
Not to mention the fact that often that external identity doesn't really reflect who we are at the core. So it's a mask that we wear, which drains energy, rather than generates it. It also becomes a rigid box that doesn't allow for morphing and growth.
If, on the other hand, you have a deep awareness of who you are and what lights your fire - what I call your Passion Core (sm) - then you can create a job that is an extension of that. Your job becomes you, rather than the other way around. Work becomes energizing and fun.
Rather than a restrictive box defining your identity, your job becomes a fluid expression of who you are. The difference between the two are night and day.
So are you your job, or is your job you?
Passion Catalyst SM