Sunday, March 22, 2009

Are you defined by your job?

This post is what we in the news business call "a talker." I can't tell you how many times i've felt some kind of satisfaction when someone asks me 'what i do' -- and i've been able to easily respond, because i have a job that everyone recognizes. Even if they think journalists are something resembling pond scum, at least they know what we do. A person who analyzes the productivity of your local library or spends his days making the stuff that un-sticks your pots and pans can't quite explain their career in one word and expect anyone to understand. But i've had that.

These days, a lot more people are finding themselves defined not by their employment, but by their unemployment. I think it's got to be a life-changing experience for someone who's always had a title, a business card, and status. I've had a lot of contemplating to do about what my real goals are since the bosses dropped the bomb. Occasionally a ray of light shines through and i have a clear idea what the hell i am doing. Other times i think creating my own path is freaking insane.

So what's it all worth? Does having a so-called prestigious job have any bearing on your actual happiness? Does what you do for a living define you? And can you feel like a whole person when you're not defined by a job?

3 comments:

Scott said...

I laid myself (!) off about 4.5 years ago. It's a good thing. I simply decided I didn't want to become the people I saw around me or a product of that culture (Washington, D.C., media establishment, etc.). I took to the woods, walking 1,600 miles so far of the Appalachian Trail. Just another kind of suffering. I still walk and think ...

Reverie said...

I like the Eastern philosophical view of how one is defined, not by one's occupation or vocation. The Western view requires a "position" in order to give an individual an identity, but the other is by what you are, defined by your persona. This approach is more human and more rational.

Nicole Vulcan said...

you're right, reverie. this western woman will try to think of it in eastern terms from now on.