“What do you do?” How many times have you been greeted with these few words? Whether you are at a dinner party, a social outing or simply just meeting someone new, the standard order of questioning is “Hello, how are you?, “What do you do?” and “Who do you work for?”
It’s no wonder so many people feel defined by their job as this, almost always, is the first line of questioning in a conversation. We don’t start getting to know someone by asking about their family or what they like to do for fun. It almost always starts with an identifier to our job. So what happens, when you don’t have a job, or you’ve lost your position, or perhaps you made a conscious decision to stay at home with the children. How do you answer this question and how does it make you feel?
It’s interesting, as I have had many conversations with people who withdraw from social settings upon losing their job. This standard conversation can be very intimidating and stressful to an individual who is not working as they don’t know how to answer it and they can feel less of a person if they don’t have a title to define themselves by.
The real question we should be asking is “why does our job title define us?” The reality is, it doesn’t or it shouldn’t. We are so much more than a job title. Our careers are only a portion of what makes up our life. It may be a big portion, but it is still only a portion. And if you are finding that your job is consuming you; not only in your physical time but also your mental time, then it is time to find more balance in life. In coaching, we work with individuals to help build out their Life Circle. The life circle considers your career and also other aspects of what makes up your whole such as your family, your relationships, your health, your enjoyment activities, your love, and your finances. We try to create balance in your life, as balance is, the key to success. Using the adage, too much of a good thing is a bad thing, applies well in this case.
So next time you are meeting someone, think twice before you ask what they do. Dig deeper to get to know the real them. We are so much more than a job title and getting to know someone outside of their job can be fascinating to hear their stories, where they have come from, what their dreams and passions are, and to learn what really drives them. And if you are someone who has lost a job and is struggling with this, next time you are asked this question, hold your head high and answer with confidence by starting with telling them who you really are, outside of a job.
If you recognize that you are struggling, as you have always defined yourself as your job title, reach out to us at ProFound Coach so we may work with you to discover who you really are. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.profoundcoach.com.