Did you realise that your identity is influenced by your work?

Just think about it. One of the first things that we do when we introduce ourselves to someone is to tell them what we do. I’m an accountant. I’m a teacher. I’m a… You know what it’s like.

Regardless of the occupation, our work shapes how we see ourselves. Why should this be so? Aside from the fact that most of us spend a significant number of our waking hours in employment, here are three other responses to consider:

Firstly, working can give us a sense of contributing to something larger than ourselves.

Deep down, all of us would like to think that we are doing something that’s useful, helpful or necessary for others – even if it’s just providing for our own families. And it connects us to a wider world.

Secondly, there is a societal expectation that everyone who can work should work.

This expectation often leads to those facing unemployment feeling of pressure to be looking for work or to provide an ‘acceptable’ reason for not being able to work. This pressure can be counter-productive, leading someone to take any kind of work to avoid being seen as lazy or ‘one of those dole bludgers’ – an action that can lead to problems for the individual further down the line.

Thirdly, work brings often brings with it status, privilege and reward.

Money is only one small piece of this equation.   Work can also provide many non-tangible benefits that can boost your sense of identity, like routine, relationship, power, satisfaction, recognition, challenge, status, respect… These link into personal and group values.

Recognising how work shapes how you see yourself, don’t you think it’s important to be working in a role and an environment that has a positive influence on your identity?

If you’re in a role or an environment that is dragging you down, contact Cynosure Support Services to explore the positive changes you can make so you feel better about yourself.