Title Card - You Are Not Your Career

You Are Not Your Career

There are a lot of factors that could contribute to one’s decision on what their career path should be. Perhaps you were influenced by your parents’ positions, or you had a hobby that turned into a full-time career. Maybe you had someone who inspired you to take on a position and follow in their footsteps, or perhaps you were a budding entrepreneur who decided to forge a new path that nobody has ever taken before. Perhaps your career just simply fell into place, as though things were just meant to happen that way. There are many ways to find your working purpose, but no matter how happy or frustrated you are with your current path, it is important to recognize that your career should not define who you are.

Many people who are too involved in their work will often hear the people around them making comments about how they are “never around” or “don’t engage the same way they used to.” They will find themselves working at odd hours in the day, unable to put down their work or put it out of mind, even when their work hours had long since ended. The constant pressure of earning more and saving more will cause them to work harder, become irritable when they aren’t progressing or saving, and potentially alienating themselves from the other people in their life.

Although you will spend a significant part of your life on your career, it isn’t the only thing that you will have to focus your attention on. At minimum, you will have a home that you will be at least some part responsible for, and many people will have a family to take care of or live with. Even if you made a career out of a hobby or something you enjoy, not many people have just a single interest. Just because you enjoyed doing it on your own initiative doesn’t mean that you will love doing it equally for the rest of your life. Think back to the last time you spent a long time on one of your hobbies for a long stretch of time. Are you still doing it today? Are you still doing it every day with the same energy you did when you first started?

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t put energy into your work. On the contrary, loving what you do is an important part of feeling satisfied at work. The trouble is, many people will lose themselves in their work and feel compelled to work harder to earn more money to support themselves for later in life. These people are forgetting the fact that life doesn’t start after retirement: you’re already in it, with plenty of things calling for your attention.

On top of this, not everyone is fortunate enough to be blessed with the same health and energy they had in their mid-twenties. Putting things off until retirement leaves open the potential that you won’t have the same ability or body to take on the challenges you put on your bucket list. There are some things you take for granted now that you couldn’t imagine or predict will become problems later, something that makes your bucket list impossible. It may be hard, and you may feel overworked, but it is important to remember that there are always ways to find time for yourself, your friends, and your family.

If you find your work is starting to define your life, it’s probably well past time to take some personal time. Take some vacation, reconnect with your friends and family, take a moment to make some memories and forget your work for a while. And if the structure of your work doesn’t allow you the freedom to take such a break, it might be time to consider a position that does.