So much of our identity — and our health — is wrapped up in our careers. It’s one of the first things we ask others about when we meet them and it is often how we describe ourselves to others.
When I was in my late 20’s I had my first job eliminated. It [the job!] was a great source of pride for me at the time. I was super busy, worked for an honored social service agency, got to use my creativity, had lots of people interaction, and received lots of emails. It made me feel important.
And then it was gone. And I. freaked. out. My stress skyrocketed and my health decreased. (I skip meals when I’m stressed, so I feel even more mentally foggy and spend too much time on the couch, watching t.v.)
I didn’t feel important anymore because no one needed me. My inbox wasn’t overflowing. I was bored. And really I didn’t know what to do with myself for more than a couple of hours a day. If I wasn’t a marketing coordinator anymore, who was I? At that point in my life, I didn’t know how not to be what was written on my business card.
I felt so empty and alone.
Fast forward another few years to my early 30’s and I left another job without another one to go to. This time I was much calmer. My identity wasn’t tied to that job and I didn’t care that my inbox was empty. I learned two valuable lessons: I’m not my career, and I deserve to do important work.
My worth exceeds my paycheck.
My career supports my happiness, but isn’t the sole reason for fulfillment in life.
Even though it was six weeks before our self-funded wedding, I remained calm and happy.
The vast majority of Americans are spending 40+ hours each week doing stuff they don’t like with people they don’t like.
Even though it is more healthy to have our identities separated from our careers, life is much better when we love them! Gallup asked this question as part of their book, “Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements:” Do you like what you do each day? Only 20% of respondents gave a resounding, “Yes!”
Another piece of that research asked participants who they wanted to spend less time with. Their response? Their boss.
Y’all know I’m on a mission to help people love their jobs, and to do important work with people they love. As part of this 6-week series on wellness, this first week’s questions are to support you in understanding the essential elements for liking what you do each day.
Find wellness at work through these 6 questions.
Print these questions and take 20 minutes to honestly answer them.
- What are your strengths?
- How do you use them over the course of a normal week?
- Who encourages your growth at work?
- How can you spend more time with him or her?
- Which teammates do you enjoy hanging out with, socially and in work-related ways?
- How can you increase the amount of time you spend with them?