Thursday, May 1, 2008

Career: Your Identity or Just a Job?

Two really thought provoking posts caught my eye today. Both focused on the role career plays in our lives. One Frugal Girl talked about staying in a job that doesn’t necessarily excite her but provides the stability and flexibility she needs due to her health concerns. Flexo at Consumer Commentary brought up how one’s career can be wrapped up in personal identity. When he was a music teacher, that made much more sense to him because both music and leadership are such a huge part of how he views himself. But now that he has switched careers, that isn’t really the case anymore.

I related a great deal to both points of view. I love where I work but not necessarily for a true passion for “what I do”. I appreciate the work atmosphere, the benefits, my understanding boss. And the nap room can’t be beat.

Like Flexo, I used to teach and there is definitely something about being able to assert, “I am a teacher”. Although it gets you jack in the finance department, it has a certain prestige to it. I felt like a worthwhile contributor to society. Right now, my job title doesn’t have the same ring to it. I like that I work for a non-profit but it’s still not the same.

But does my identity really have to be so intertwined in what I do? Who I am as a person doesn’t have to be expressed by what I do to earn my keep. I like that my job gives me the time and energy to express myself outside of working hours. When I used to come home from school, I would be so drained that doing anything other than pure recovery and then prep to start it all over again was pretty much out of the question. I’d take door #2 any day.

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