Am I just a job title?
Who are you? A question that you may answer with your name. But if someone asked you to go deeper than that, who really are you? Other than a daughter or son, sister or brother, friend or fo. What and who do you identify as at the centre of your core?
For a while, my identity became what I did. And to a certain extent, it still is. I’m Lauren Nicole Coppin Campbell, a digital content creator, writer, plus-size model blah blah blah. Now, some of you may be reading this and saying, “ok, what else are you supposed to say?” And my reaction was the same as I sat in one of the most uncomfortable chairs, staring blankly at my new therapist.
“It seems you have blurred the lines between your internal and external. Your internal is your relationships, personality, the essence of who you are as an individual, and your external is what you do for work, what school you went to, etc. Your internal and external are two separate things.”
Yet somehow, my internal and external had collided and created this giant mess of feeling on edge and like somewhat of a failure. But, somehow, I hadn’t made the link until I was faced with a business deal being put on hold. To emphasise, the deal didn’t fall through, it was put on hold (a “we’ll do this in the next few months” hold), but for some odd reason, it felt like a personal attack.
While my choice of ‘work’ may be different to some, it’s clear that this feeling isn’t uncommon, and a simple type into google shows that. Uniquely my job is me. I’m the face, product, marketing and advertising, slogan, and sale. Me, as a human vessel, is what runs this business and IS the business. So, when opportunities aren’t rolling in the same way they have done previously, it is (in some way) a reflection of me/because of me.
But as Tim Keller wrote: “when work is your identity, success goes to your head, and failure goes to your heart.”
So, how do you make sure your job doesn’t become your identity? I wasn’t told. But here’s what I’ve learnt in a few clicks:
– Don’t allow the authority of your job to go to my head
– Make your legacy about impact, that way your identity is less about your job and more about service.
– Find new passions outside your work. (make the following bullet points bold).
Not only will this reduce stress and chances of burnout, but it should keep you happy and smiling. Because when your job/career becomes a part of your identity, you’ve put yourself on the wildest rollercoaster ride that will end in misery and likely sick in your hair. And no one wants sick in their hair.
Opening image: illustration by Bodil Jane