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?