I haven’t collaborate for some time, given my current health conditions. So I am glad that I manage to start off contributing with Patty Wolters on her exciting topics. Check out her blog here on last month’s topic: Identity.


Every person is different and can be defined differently based on one’s characteristics, image and behaviour. However, there are times when their career or profession represents one.

When one identifies themselves with their career, it shows that they are focused on their career. They are determined to improve themselves and pursue their goals no matter what challenges come before them.

But, it is not recommended to define oneself with their career because it reshapes your overall perception of yourself. Do you want to change your attitude about identifying yourself through your work? Here are some tips to help you get started:

You Won’t Work In The Same Job Forever

As we become older, we tend to find characteristics and activities that stick with us for a long time. For example, if you studied art for college, you may find it hard to do something else that isn’t related to art unless you are open to doing other things.

The same idea goes with how you identify with work. If you want to shift your attitude in determining yourself with your work, you must remember that you won’t be working in the same career or job for a long time. There will be a period where you will need to shift careers because you may not be happy with your current career, or you need better job security. You will also come to a point you will need to decide whether it is time to resign or retire. For some, their current jobs may not be a perfect fit for them because it’s what was available when they were applying for a job and had no other options to practise what they studied in school for.

Whichever situation you find yourselves in, you must understand that your job won’t be there forever, and you will need to shift when the situation calls for it. If you fail to do so, how will you define yourself if you don’t have a job anymore or change careers? It would help if you were open to other opportunities to prevent an identity crisis from hitting you and affecting how you define yourself.

Always Look Into Your Relationship And Its Connections To Your Identity

Are you in a relationship? On good terms with your family and friends? These relationships can help you define yourself as much as how your work defines you.

Your work is only a tiny part of you, and other factors define who you are as a person. With your relationships, other people can influence how you act and think for yourself and help you see what kind of person you are from their perspective. If their response to your questions is negative and you aren’t giving your all to these relationships, you will need to shift your attitude to improve it and reach out to others. 

Defining yourself outside your career also enables you to build stronger relationships and new ones, especially with those who do not know your profession very well. In turn, you will be able to see other perspectives you may not have considered to help you grow as a person.

Find Your Focus

Work and relationships are critical parts of your life that can define who you are. However, they will constantly change, which is why you can’t use them to limit who you are entire as a person. A part of you goes over your career and relationship, and that is your centre.

Your centre is the part of your identity where you can always fall back when something goes wrong with your career and relationships. It doesn’t go away as well despite everything that may happen to you. When something wrong occurs, you can fall back to your centre, reassess your situation and change your options for something better.

Finding your centre can also help you prevent burnout, especially if you focus on only one thing. While it is ok to be fully committed to one’s work, there is a danger that you may end up ignoring your other interests and prevent yourself from achieving a work-life balance. When this happens, you will find yourself burnt out and unable to separate yourself from your work.

It may also affect your self-worth because your successes and mistakes in work will affect your self-worth ultimately. Recuperating from it can be difficult, and you might end up facing an identity crisis if your career falls apart.

Find Your Calling

Aside from finding your focus or centre and reevaluating your career and relationships, it would be best to take the time to explore the world and use it to disassociate yourself with what you are doing with who you are as a person.

It is an excellent opportunity to reassess ourselves and evaluate what makes us happy with events like the pandemic and other natural disasters. While it is ok to pursue your work and give your all to it, it is essential that you still have different goals to focus on: how to live your life and be happy. By changing your mindset from defining yourself through your work and working towards a calling you want to pursue, you may achieve the satisfaction you may be unable to reach if all you think about is your career.

Using our work to define ourselves is a quick way to introduce ourselves to people we meet to have a slight idea about ourselves. However, it is essential to remember that our work is just a part of who we are and shouldn’t be the only way you think about yourself as a person. As you make connections, get to know others and explore more about yourself, you will be able to define yourself differently and blossom further as a person. Take one small step at a time, and don’t be afraid because you can restart until you find your identity.

Want to find my work outside of MiddleMe? Here are some of the articles:
Creating a Rhythm in Freelancing
Love is Too Short for You Not to Do What You Love
Change

Can’t get enough of MiddleMe? You can find me sharing my thoughts here as well: 
Instagram @kallymiddleme
Twitter  (MiddleMe_net)
FaceBook (MiddleMe.net)
LinkedIn linkedin.com/in/kallytay

12 replies on “Why We Identify Ourselves by Our Jobs

  1. You won’t be doing the same job forever.

    *Looks at my father, who has been the government employee since 1991*

    But then again, government jobs are a big thing here, even though I don’t want one. Even though people insist I should get one.

    You know what would bring me the greatest pleasure? Getting money for the independent work, like writing or other content creation. Too bad that we’re not so lucky to live in that kind of world.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As rather a “binge/purge workaholic”, it’s possible to disappear into an occupation to the extent of losing touch with one’s own identity. Spending about five years in my twenties entirely committed to a “high-risk/high-payout” project, and despite knowing that it would represent only an episode in my life, it wasn’t easy moving beyond an identity established at the expense of meaningful social contact and self-improvement. Work/life balance is a real thing.

    And that said, good wishes to you and to your family!

    Like

  3. You make some very good points here. It can be quick and easy to sum ourselves up with a job title, but ultimately, that’s only one thread of our lives. And ideally, it should be an ever evolving one up until retirement, too!

    Like

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