For many of us, finding a healthy balance between work and home is no easy task. We spend so much time in the office, we often allow our professional lives to define us outside of work as well. Rachel of Reboot Yoga shares her experiences with this unavoidable struggle (who am I anyway?) and shares thoughts on how the two worlds can happily coexist.
I recently had lunch with some old friends of mine I met years ago when I worked in advertising sales in New York City. I was struck by the dissatisfaction they all felt in their jobs. One friend felt as if she was taking on a role in a movie each time she presented in front of her peers. Another friend stopped getting dressed up at the office because wearing her casual clothes allowed her to hold on to some small sense of authenticity. Yet another one of us found out that her main client was equally dissatisfied with her career in marketing, and their relationship grew over their mutual dissatisfaction, making her work life more bearable. And finally, another friend at our table had the reverse problem. Her identity was attached to being a corporate professional and since she was laid off two years ago, she felt lost.
These feelings may sound familiar. I personally have felt all of them at one point or another. But what can we do about it? Do we stay? Or do we go? The decision to stick it out or leave a job to pursue god-knows-what is a challenging one to face. If we go, then what? We are homeless and without health insurance. If we stay, then what? We are one day closer to death having accomplished nothing worthwhile. Sounds pretty bleak, huh?
It begs the question, “Am I my job?” My answer to that is an emphatic NO.
What someone does for work is often the first question asked when we meet a new person. And as soon as a child can talk we want to know what they want to be when they grow up. In a culture that defines it’s people by what they do for work, it’s easy to attach our identity to our job position.
Defining yourself by your job means that if you like your job, then you like yourself. But what happens if you lose your job or retire? You will suffer. Likewise, if you dislike your job, then you dislike yourself. And as long as you are working at a job you hate, you will suffer.
By adopting the belief that you are NOT your job, it doesn’t matter what you do for work, because your job is just a small part of who you truly are. You are so much more than the thing you get paid to do eight hours a day.
So… build your interests outside of work. Grow your relationships with others. Experience joy more often. Eat real food. Move your body! Be the multifaceted being that you were put on this earth to be. And the next time someone asks, “What do you do?” I invite you to pause, take a deep breath, and say “Where do I start?”