March 16, 2012

you are not your job: cultivating a more holistic approach to self-worth

If you meet someone new on a night out, one of the first questions asked is "What do you do?" This is usually taken to mean "What's your job?" or "What is it that you do with your time to make money?" This, for me, is a very interesting reflection about how almost all people see themselves and measure their self-worth. Instead of answering the "what do you do" question with details about our hobbies or families, we always start with work. Now, of course, this is only natural, since we spend the majority of our waking hours at our place of employment. But I also think it's a very shallow way of viewing yourself, and one that can be potentially dangerous for, surprisingly enough, your career itself.

Most of us do not have our dream jobs. In fact, what we do to pay the bills may be just that—a bill-payer and nothing more. Still, when we are stuck in a job that we feel doesn't fit us or our personalities, it's easy to become very depressed with the fact that our jobs don't line up with how we view ourselves. And this discrepancy can become so painful that your performance will eventually suffer.

Instead of equating yourself with your job, start developing a more well-rounded sense of self. You may be, say an account executive for a PR firm, but you are also so much more - you are  afriend, a son or daughter, a parent, a pet owner. You're someone who cooks delicious meals like nobody's business, you're someone who excels at chess and soccer. These various roles you play make up not just one unified self, but several discrete selves. As Walt Whitman once said, "I am large, I contain multitudes."

When you see yourself as containing multitudes, you can bring renewed focus to your job, no matter how tedious or difficult it is. Once you take pride in other aspects of your multifaceted self, you'll begin to see your job as an activity that you perform daily, not something that engulfs your entire being. And understanding work as just another one of the many activities you do daily, you'll instantly become more active about your work as process and not an end.

Of course, I'm not necessarily suggesting that once you embrace other parts of your life more whole-heartedly, your job will instantly become easier or more enjoyable. But you'll feel more confident in your ability to get through it, and this confidence may just give you the boost you need to take the necessary steps in finding a job that's more rewarding. Good luck!

This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas, who writes for Online Universities Blog. She welcomes your comments at her email:

1 comment:

  1. Thank for the awesome article Katheryn! Look forward to working with you again ☺


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