Why do we, as a society, tend to define a person’s worth by a few words on a business card? Why does it seem a person’s value is directly tied to what they do for a living? Why do reality tv shows, and I use that word very lightly, always show the person’s occupation alongside their name? The Bachelor’s Ryan – Firefighter, Big Brother’s Jackie – Professional Pizza Maker.
It starts when we are in grade school with our kindergarten teachers asking us what we want to be when we grow up. By the time we graduate high school the pressure to have an answer is insane. Why can’t we answer happy – or healthy, or inspiring, or content, or naked on a beach? Why can’t my life goal be to make people smile? What is wrong with choosing a future not based on a pay cheque or corporate ladder? Why can’t I work in a fast food restaurant asking “do you want fries with that” if it provides me with the funds to live a happy life? Why do we assume success in life equals success in career? Why do some people still, in this day and age, think stay at home parents are somehow not of as much value as the suits and ties of the corporate world? Why do most stay at home parents devalue themselves to the point that when they are asked what do you do that they answer “Oh, I’m just a Mom.”
Just a Mom! Holy Crap! That is one of the hardest jobs on the planet. There is no just about it. If you define yourself strictly by your nine to five, the nameplate on the door, the job title on a business card – persona, then you are doing yourself a huge disservice. I think that this why so many people today are really struggling with the realities of a weak economy. If people measure their worth based on a job, what happens when they no longer have that job? Right now so many people are struggling with job loss related depression. They see job loss, even through no fault of their own, as a huge sign of failure.
Answer this question right now. “So what do you do?”
Did you just answer with a job title? If you did you need to take a big long look at yourself in the mirror. What do you see? I know that when I look in the mirror I see someone with grey hair caused by being a mother, a double chin, thanks to being the wife of an amazing man that cooks, bloodshot eyes from binge-watching one too many episodes of the Walking Dead and laugh lines around said bloodshot eyes from loving life and laughing along the way. I don’t see a Career Coach. I’m not even sure what a Career Coach would look like.
I guess my point is this, don’t lose sight of who you are if you lose your job. You will always be considerably more than a line or two on a business card. Take the time to remind yourself that while you may not currently be a geologist, administrative assistant, welder, salesperson or whatever, you still have countless other things that make you-you. And you, by the way, are pretty darn special.