Your Job is NOT Your Identity

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Jobs, Jobs Jobs!

Lately, it seems that America’s identity is tied to the number of jobs the country produces. And what could we expect from a businessman playing the President’s role?

The identity of a country is NOT based on the Economy—what about justice and social issues? America’s Economy has defined the power of the country for years, so I understand that it’s important to maintain this role on a global stage—but in this erratic run to achieve financial greatness, America is losing its soul.

In the same way, if we tie our identity to our job, we disregard our true self.

Americans take a lot of pride in the work they do, especially in cities like San Francisco and New York. When I lived in San Francisco, I used to go the events to network and meet new people—I still remember the shame I felt during the time I was unemployed waiting for my immigration case to be approved. Every time someone asked me about my job, I felt the need to explain in detail the reason why I wasn’t working. People would talk to me for a couple of minutes, just to be polite, and abandon the conversation soon after the unemployment revelation came out—no interest in my passions or personality.

Work pays the bills and gives us financial security—NOTHING more than that. It’s common to hear stories of people who had a passion for art but decided to become accountants. With time, these people will feel that “accountant” is their identity because the job question is the first one, and sometimes the only one asked—until someone is interested enough to inquire about their passions—then a glimpse of their real identity will come out from the shadows.

Your job is NOT your identity until you do what you love, which is hard, especially for people with no money or education. The point is that, to preserve your well-being and self-esteem, it’s essential to remember that you are much more than the work you do. If you are a farmer, and you love what you do, good for you. If you are an electrician who dreams of being a writer, keep your dream alive and mention it when you talk to people because it’s also a way to remind yourself of your passion.

So what makes our identity?

Our identity is made of our personality, values, passions, beliefs. If we cared more about these things when we meet someone new, we could develop strong and meaningful connections. This is valid when we look for new friends, and when we look for professional collaborations—if we take time to show interest in the identity of people we learn to deepen our understanding of the world around us. Everybody wants to show who they really are—they just act differently to adapt to society and culture.