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what I do vs who I am

April 20, 2014

For the most part, I love my job. I feel passionately about the work I do and the mission of the organization for which I work.  And yet, I have continued to struggle with not defining myself by my work or occupation.  And I intentionally don’t ask new people that I meet what they do for a living.  This is because, I think many of us are more than our occupation, while at the same many of us narrowly define ourselves by our occupation.

This week I read something that put words to my struggle.

Some time ago, I stopped thinking about being a lawyer as a career. Instead, I think of it as just a day job.  Thinking about work as a day job has made a big difference in the way I approach what I do.  It’s also helped me not to confuse who I am with what I do.

This statement was written by Bob Goff.  Bob is not someone I know personally, but interestingly enough, I understand he is a competent and well-respected lawyer.

Now there is also nothing wrong with having a “career”.  But many of my generation have been flooded with messages that tell us we need love what we do, and a career is the reason we went to school, and that career development/advancement is the ultimate goal.  And I think that’s not the only option.  It’s not the only way to approach life.

Thinking about about our work/occupations as just a day job, doesn’t mean we aren’t great employees or that we don’t care about what we do.  But it might help us keep it all in perspective.   Helping us remember that it’s only a small piece of who we are.  That it’s okay to be passionate about other things and to give our time and energy to other things.   Because what I am is not who I am.  I am so much more.  We all are.


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One Comment
  1. Marni Herold permalink

    Love it!

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