If you had to assign a percentage or scale of how much your career is attached to your self-identity, what number would you give it? Or let me put it this way. If you were fired or laid off tomorrow, would you be relieved or sink into a deep depression?
People choose careers for a multitude of reasons. Some pick them solely for the money, some for the intrinsic satisfaction, and others work to keep busy. But regardless of which category you fit in, a part of you is wrapped up in the idea of your career.
Leave out the fact that a job is a financial necessity or that it provides financial security. So I ask again – if you lost your job, which of these best describes how you would feel? Remember: Pretend money is NOT a factor.
#1 (5-15% of self identity): Could care less. If you woke up tomorrow and got laid off you would simply walk over to the competitor and get a job there without a second glance back.
#2 (15-30% of self identity): Mild annoyance or irritation would be the only emotions elicited if the job was no longer there, and simply because it will require some change and effort on your part. No sleepless nights ensued.
#3 (30-50% of self identity): This loss would hit hard. Moderate therapy (shopping, anyone?!), an overindulgent night out at the bar, or emotional eating would result after this letdown.
#4 (50-75% of self identity): Your friends and family would notice considerable differences in your demeanor and mood. Feelings of helplessness and confusion would filter in after losing your job.
#5 (75-100% of self identity): Total and complete devastation. Your world just ended, and not because of financial reasons. This job was the reason you got up in the morning.
Unemployment and layoffs are an unfortunate reality of the economy we live in. As many people are facing that as a possibility. It’s a good idea to have a realistic perception and understanding of how important your career is to your self-identity. And more than that, it is good to have a reality check. Often times we get wrapped up in our careers simply because it is where we spend the majority of our time – not because it is our passion or what drives us.
So what is your job identity percentage? And do you feel that it is at a healthy level of attachment?