Thursday, March 27, 2014

throwback thought ~ you need to have a good job to be successful

There was one point in my life where I felt like my career defined who I was and validated my status in society.  

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With some insight from a cousin who lives in Barcelona, she explained that it was rude to ask people what they do for work.  She said that the Spanish don't find value of explaining what their careers are because it shouldn't define their status in life.  It took me awhile to grasp that point of view and understand it, but after a year of soul searching - I completely agree with this statement.  While it's a hard pill to swallow - because we put so much time and effort into growing our careers - sometimes we place too much value in letting our work prove to others that we are important in this world, when in reality sometimes it's everything that we do outside of work that has more meaning.

I remember growing up, I so desperately wanted to prove to people that I was "going to be someone".  I didn't want to be someone famous, nor did I want any sort of celebrity status - but I wanted to show that I was successful and the only way I thought I could prove that was to be someone important in the workforce.  Having a fancy title, a mobile device to always keep me connected, nice business cards and the luxuries that come with it all - it used to mean something to me because I felt like I would get the respect or adoration from others who thought that because I had these things, I was successful.  Truth be told, I don't hand out business cards anymore, the fancy titles can be self-appointed (yes you too can be a CEO...of your household if you wanted to be), my mobile device is something I'm trying to take breaks from on a daily basis and luxury for me is having a nice expensive bottle of wine, which at this point only I know how much that wine is.  So what does this prove?  Yes that at some point I was very materialistic, but more importantly that I was letting my work shape and define me.

Now that I'm at the ripe age of 33, with a great husband and spunky little almost 2-year old - I can confidently say that the things that define who I am are things I'm most passionate about.  Don't get me wrong, my job and my career are extremely important to me.  While I have my moments of pride in my job (and yes sometimes I do need those kudos), the things that shape who I am are my moments as a wife, my skills as a mother, hobbies/interests that I'm extremely passionate about and the people I chose to surround myself with.  So next time you meet someone new - think twice about asking them what they do for'll find that you might have much more in common with them beyond work related items.

What are your thoughts?  Do you feel it is important for people to know what you do as a job?

Throwback Thought is a new series exploring random thoughts that I once thought to be true. 

1 comment:

Sandy Caribou said...


Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. As an almost 26-year-old I find myself struggling with my own self-worth based on "what I do" when I know that what "I do" doesn't define me. While I am well aware that my newish job is not the most creative, it challenges me in ways that I need to be challenged, and is keeping me sharp ('sup brain muscles). Also, I recently made the decision to quit said-job (in July) to go back to school for something that will make me happy, while still paying the bills. I'm going to grad school for Museum and Exhibition Studies at UIC, and I know this is the path I need to tread for myself. I want to surround myself with diverse folks, with diverse passions, a common love of museums, and a passion to want to better the way they operate. I am geeking out over it in this very comment!

That said, I am trying my best to stay busy while still in my "lame job." I'm running in the Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday. I'm archiving a photography collection on the weekends. I'm starting to paint again. I'm doing reading for grad school just to bone up. And all of these pursuits feel so incredibly worthwhile! Kudos to both of us for defining ourselves outside of our work selves.