Memo: You Are Not Your Job

I find it easy to get buried in the busyness of work. Scratch that. I find it easy for my entire identity to get wrapped up in my work. Sometimes I don't even know who I am if not a Googler or a Blogger or a Coach or an {insert label here}.

I have a feeling I'm not alone. For those of us in the early phases of our careers, particularly without a spouse and kids, work is often where we spend most of our time, energy and attention. Within our jobs, many of us have managers, company objectives and performance reviews that influence us to adapt so that we fit into the broader team and organization. It's easy to lose our sense of identity and independence.

"We do not exist for the sole purpose of paying our bills"

Given that it's so easy to get wrapped-up in work, I often take time to repeat the following reminder to myself (and coaching clients): you are not your job. No matter how much you may love what you do (or not), you are a creative, interesting, independent person outside of what keeps you busy for 50 hours a week (and I'm sure many more if you include side projects).

Jonathan Fields captures this thought perfectly in the intro to his book, Career Renegade:

Much to the contrary of what we've been told for the better part of our lives, we do not exist for the sole purpose of paying our bills, grooming our kids to be able to do the same, and maybe, someday, retiring to finally enjoy life, should we ever reach that point.

We are here to let our lights shine as brightly as possible, to drink in the joy of friendship and family, to serve and better the greater community, and to tap into and inspire passion into everything we do. We are here to come alive. In doing so, we serve as an example to others that a life beyond muddling is not only possible, but mandatory."

Jonathan Fields

There's a person underneath all that "doing"

We all work for different reasons. At a minimum, our jobs help pay the bills. At best, our jobs also allow us to grow, learn, contribute, collaborate and feel fulfilled.

But even with all that - despite how much of your identity may be wonderfully shaped by the work that you do - don't forget this very important fact: you are not your job. You are an individual with your own ideas, aspirations, interests and insights.

Where might there be room to revisit those things that make you uniquely you outside of the work that you do?