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5 reasons why you shouldn’t let your job define you

Defining your self-worth with your career is a dangerous move. It’s important to remember you are not your job. By Satyaki Sarkar

In the pursuit of professional success we often become so engulfed in our work that we forget to leave space for anything else in our lives. Our job, and all that it entails, starts to become the most important part of our life, we end up compromising on family, friends, hobbies, holidays, etc. It becomes such a big part that you start to draw your self-worth from it; your job becomes who you are. And that is a dangerous trap as you lose touch with yourself.

1. It prevents you from creating your legacy
You don’t create a legacy just by doing what you do, but how you do it and the kind of person you are. The relationships you build, the way you treat your colleagues, co-workers, juniors and superiors, as well as the impact you have on their lives, are what go into building your legacy; something that echoes with people for years to come. Commitment and dedication to work aside, one needs to be able to look beyond work as a linear responsibility. Leaders should instead focus on becoming the best version of themselves, take a genuine interest in others lives and problems, someone others can look up to, admire, and respect, not just because of contributions to the workspace but also the people around.

2. Your successes aren’t restricted to your job
In the course of our lives, we accomplish a number of things, both in our personal and professional lives, though we might not always be aware of them. Taking a major step in improving your health, or being able to quit a harmful habit/hobby, for instance, are both examples of personal successes that deserve to be celebrated as much as your professional achievements. Personal growth, thus, is key to an individual’s accomplishments in life, and shutting yourself off from them, only serves to hinder your progress, which eventually starts making you feel empty and left with nothing to show for yourself than your job.

3. Your job takes up less than one-third of your life
If you were to calculate the number of hours you actually spend at your job every day, you’d realise that only one third of your day is spent at work, which amounts to less than one third of your life. However, we tend to let what we do during this time at work define us, which undermines what we do during the other hours. We even tend to ignore everything else we do outside of it. This is not a healthy habit doesn’t bode well for a healthy work-life balance. Also, we are all so much more than the work we do, so why let ourselves be defined by it? Utilise your time outside work to take care of your other needs, broaden your horizons, and spend time with the people who matter in the long run, your family and friends. You need to give your personal endeavours and life as much importance, attention, and focus as your professional one.

4. Your passion and your job might be completely different
In the competitive world that we live in, few of us succeed in pursuing a career in an area we are truly passionate about. From interesting like playing a musical instrument, to painting, motorcycling, teaching, mountain climbing, etc, we all have that something that brings us joy and contentment. However, just because we haven’t taken up a career in it doesn’t mean we ignore it. Neglecting the very things that we are passionate about, in order to chase professional success, will only leave us with more stress, regrets, and unhappiness. This is the very reason some of the most successful leaders in the world repeatedly stress the importance of having a hobby outside of work; one that gives you purpose and contentment in life.

5. Happiness is more than just how well you do at work
Sure, being able to successfully meet the deadline on a major project and receiving accolades for it makes us happy. But that happiness is quite short lived. It’s the happiness we gain in our personal life that lasts and nurtures us. Whether it’s taking up a hobby, achieving a personal milestone, going on a dream vacation, spending time with family, making new friends, it’s these that build the patchwork of our lives and create lasting memories. So we need to look beyond our work for validation and happiness to build a well-balanced life.

Photograph: Nick Youngson/Creative Commons 

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