Master Career Counselor

Carla Hunter, President of Career Span, Inc. is a Master Career Counselor (MCC) by the National Career Development Association and a Certified Career Coach by the National Board for Certified Counselors. She is an expert in writing resumes, effective job search strategies and interviewing success. Most recently, with over 20 years of navigating the complexity of today's world of work, she published "Finding Your Place in the World of Work", a career interest inventory (2014) and CareerView, an iPad app. As a private practice career counselor and a workforce development consultant, this blog is Carla's trove of ideas, trends, forecasts, and career tips for finding meaningful work.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Identity Theft in a Job Title

Where is your identity?

Has your job title stolen it from you.

The reality of work can be brutal when one loses a job especially when it is completely unexpected. The pink slip for a teacher or the trip to the Human Resources office for the shocked professional who gave everything to the company only to find a hollow sense of worth and value. Emotional rage, sustained bouts of anger and depression are hallmark indicators of a person who lost even their soul in exchange for a job title and description of daily responsibilities.
What if your job isn't there tomorrow? What if you lost it yesterday? Does that loss define who you are?
It is a complex issue with no easy answer to what the balance is or how far you go in a career that defines you.

Don't get me wrong. I am all about putting in a full day's work and loving what you do. But can there be a point where a person merges their sense of self too far into an office at work? Life is always lives on a continuum that must be refined and measured over time. The older we get, the more we realize success is not measured by a bank statement. Actually, we can have a lot of money, kudos and accomplishments and still be bankrupt and utterly lost.

If your sense of value and worth better known as an identity is found ONLY in the work you do, you're missing the essence of life. The roles only you can fill are the key factors to a life well lived. Only you can fill a certain role such as sibling, parent, community activist, neighbor, friend, spouse, etc. that no one else can fill as only you do. A job title is replaceable and work can steal it. A relationship can be lost by neglect. Life's greatest meaning is found not solely in your work, but in who you spend your time with learning, loving and developing each day. Identity is validated in relationship to others as they reflect the qualities you possess or even greater, provoke you to reach a deeper level of knowledge and wisdom.

Your reflection will always be seen in a mirror as you walk by and glance at it. Your identity is captured in the roles you fill in relation to others. Remember who you are is found in what and who you love. No one can steal that from you.

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