When we lose our job, it can be devastating. Very often it means a dramatic change in income. Our daily routine suddenly changes, and we are left with a tremendous void. After all, most of our waking hours are spent at work. How do we fill the time?
All this is true, but I think the loss of a job means more to us on a much deeper level.
In my recent interview with Dianna Shandy and Karine Moe, we discussed how much of our identity is based on our job or profession. When we leave the workforce, voluntarily or not, we lose that identity.
I love the example they brought up in the interview of their conversation with a women from the UK who said the first question everyone asks in the UK is “Where are you from?” Here in the United States, the first question asked is always, “What do you do?”
What you do defines who you are for better or for worse. A friend of mine who does not work once confided in me that she was embarrassed and struggled with how best to answer that question when asked. She didn’t know how to properly answer it.
Shandy and Moe commented that when women leave the workforce, they often continue to define themselves by their previous occupation. “I’m a former teacher, former attorney etc.” as if, being a stay at home mother is not an acceptable response.
Take some time to think about who you really are outside of your profession. What adequately defines your unique qualities and personality? After all, we are much more than what we do for a living even if we are passionate about our vocation and successful.
The passion and energy you might have for your work says a lot about who you are, your values.
This is the foundation of YOU, not your job.