When you meet somebody new, it’s common to ask what they do for a living. It’s a simple ice breaker and most of the time, people are willing to talk about their jobs. After all, we work for a large majority of our lives and it is often something that becomes closely tied to our identity.
While it’s wonderful to be passionate about your work and motivated to do a good job, your work and your self-worth should not be tied together. It’s easy to have those two things become intertwined though – especially if we find ourselves working long hours, checking emails while we’re away from the office, or thinking about projects or work scenarios well outside of work hours.
But, when your work and your self-worth become entangled, it can cause problems. Here are some tips on how to separate those two things.
Your career identity and personal identity might be closely related, simply because the things that you love and are passionate about in your personal life might coincide with your work. For example, if you love caring for and nurturing people, your job as a nurse, nanny, or caregiver would align well. Or, if you’re patient, enjoy learning, and love the enthusiasm that children have, teaching may make a great career. You’ll likely be more satisfied in your career path if you do a job that fulfills you personally. But when your personal identity becomes absorbed in the innerworkings of your job and you lose your sense of self, there becomes a problem.
We hear a lot about creating a better work-life balance. If you can get this under control, you can live a healthier, happy life that translates to your work and personal life. Try some of these tips.
-Use your vacation/holiday days. Take time to decompress away from work and recharge yourself. When you fill your personal cup, you’ll be able to give your best at work.
-Shut your ‘work brain’ off when you leave. This isn’t always possible, but as much as you can, turn your work life off when you’re away from the office. Don’t check e-mails late into the night and shut your computer down at the end of the day and open it back up. Becoming work-obsessed can mess with your self-worth and even lower your self-esteem. So, focusing on letting your brain recoup after a full day is important for building energy and stamina for the next day.
-Find a hobby and stick with it. Do you love sewing? Collecting and working on vintage cars? Reading or writing? Running? Golf? Whatever it is, find a hobby and invest some time into it. This allows you to find something you enjoy doing that might even be a talent! When you know what you’re good at, it builds self-worth and gives you confidence.
If you’re finding that your work and self-worth are becoming one in the same, think about how you can change that. Ask yourself what success really looks like and what are your values in life. How do those align with how you’re living life right now? If your work is overtaking and you’re finding that your self-worth is completely tied up in that job, it is likely time to take a step back. Talk to your boss about ways you can adjust your schedule to create a better balance. Doing this will help you feel more satisfied in the long run.
Your self-worth matters! So, take steps to nurture that so you can be a stronger, confident and well-rounded person that’s able to give both at work and to your personal connections around you.