Monday, February 8, 2010

Job and Identity - Are they the same? | Guest Post Joel Carlson

It's a Monday morning and you're just getting into the office. You turn your computer on, you put your lunch away in the company breakroom refrigerator, and you sit back at your desk to start you first day of the new week. As your getting rolling, your boss approaches you and says "Can I speak to you for a minute?". You feel odd about meeting with your boss right away and wonder, "what does my boss want to talk to me about?". So your boss and you both sit down and the first thing that your boss says is, "As you may know, business hasn't been going well lately and so some adjustments have had to be made because of the company cash-flow not being what it used to be. Part of that adjustment is that the company has determined that there needs to be some layoffs, and I'm sorry to say, today is your last day."  POW! Like a punch right to the gut and the ego.

Your mind first thinks, "What did I do wrong? Why is this happening to me? What am I going to do?" Your boss keeps talking about appreciating the time you've worked there, maybe about a severance package, but you aren't paying full attention because of the news that you were just told. You've lost your job. Did you also lose your identity?

The short answer is NO. In today's society, people often feel once they've been laid off that they don't have any identity any longer. That their job and themselves are one in the same. WRONG! You are not your job, your job is what you DO it's not who you are. You may be a marketing guru, you may do web design, you may work in Human Resources, but that's not you, it's what you DO.  You will always be you, you may have different careers throughout your life, but you still will always be you.

After you've lost your job, it is very difficult to differentiate you from your job. You feel bad that you lost your job, you feel that you're being rejected for the work that you've done. That you are a bad (your job), and that's a reflection on you. The work that you did has stopped, but your life has not. Remember that no matter what job you have now or in the future, you will always be you. You are Joe Smith or Mary Johnson, you are not the marketer, the office clerk or the barista.  You have value as a person, even if the job that you did isn't needed anymore.

PHOTO: By Joel Carlson

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Joel Carlson
Account Executive | Agency Couture
Web. Design. Search. Marketing. Mobile.
www.AgencyCouture.com

2 comments:

Emily said...

When I was laid off, I didn't feel like I'd lost my identity, but I DID feel like it changed how others perceived me, especially when meeting new people.

Generally when meeting someone new, the first question out of that person's mouth after finding out my name was generally "What do you do?"

That can be a hard question to answer when what you DO every day isn't something you get PAID to do. It took a while before I was able to answer confidently with what I WANTED to do.

desaraev said...

Sometimes I think I AM my job. I AM FOR SURE a work-o-holic with no cure in sight. When your job is 24/7 how do you differentiate?

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