You are Not Your Job – A Guide to Redefining Yourself & Your Career Identity

Having a job and a feeling of accomplishment is important. It makes you feel good and it gives you a feeling of self-worth, because you are contributing to society. Going to work and starting at 9, then clocking out at 5 and coming home is putting in a good day’s work.  No matter what you […]

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Having a job and a feeling of accomplishment is important. It makes you feel good and it gives you a feeling of self-worth, because you are contributing to society. Going to work and starting at 9, then clocking out at 5 and coming home is putting in a good day’s work.  No matter what you do and where you work, whether it is for a fast-food restaurant or as a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you feel accomplished.

However, working to live and living to work are two different things. It is when you allow your work to define who you are that problems can occur. These problems include the following:

  • Burnout – Because you are always being defined by your job, it is always on your mind. You feel like you are always on the job.
  • Resentment – You may start resenting your job and your friends and loved ones might start resenting you and your job.
  • Relationships – If you are always working, talking about work, and obsessing about it, your relationships with your friends and family can suffer.
  • Work – Eventually, because of these problems above, even your work can suffer. This is because you resent the work because of all the other problems you have. Soon all your good work may go down the drain.

These are just four of the problems you may have when you allow your work to define you. But the good news is that there are things you can do to help break this cycle. Below are four tips to help you redefine yourself.

Redefine Achievement & Accomplishment

It is not unreasonable to derive your self-worth from the work you do. You took a long time to get where you are. You are immensely proud of your milestones and you deserve to be. But it is also important to have achievements and accomplishments outside of work.

For instance, maybe you decide that you want to learn how to bake homemade bread. Or perhaps you want to take up a new hobby such as biking or playing golf. Those achievements are just as important as your 9 to 5 job.

It does not even have to be something groundbreaking. But do it for yourself, not for anyone else. Do it because you want to do it.

Start a Side Hustle

A side hustle is not just a way to leave your current job. It also can be a way that you redefine your capabilities and skills outside of your career. It is not essential that it’s big, either, even though it certainly can be. This is more about proving to yourself that you can do anything you want even outside of the workplace.

Limit Work Talk At Home

If you find yourself always talking about work at dinner, this is something you should alter. If you are finding it hard to change topics and stop talking about work while you are at home, make a rule that you can only discuss work for 30 minutes after you get home. You should keep your work life and your home life as separate as possible.

Expand Your Circle of Friends & Acquaintances Beyond Work

When you find yourself in a social circle that includes only people from work, you are still defining yourself by your job. It is all right to socialize with friends from work.  Just do not limit your socialize schedule to workplace friends. 

Do you love to read? Join a book club. Are you a church goer? Join a ladies’ or a men’s group at your church. There are a lot of ways that you can find other people with whom you can connect and spend time.

There is nothing wrong with being proud of what you do and what you have accomplished. However, it is a huge mistake to make that the only thing or the most important thing in your life.  Do not limit yourself to your job.   There is so much more to you than your 9 to 5 routine. 

Use these tips to show yourself and others the whole you!

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