Thursday, September 11, 2014

Millennial Talk: Your job does not define you.

Something I've struggled to learn in my past year as a post-grad, and only recently have begun to realize, is that your job, or what you do for a living, does not define you. In some cases: sure, it does. There are people out there who get paid for doing their hobby. There are people out there with careers they are completely passionate about and it revolves around who they are as a person. But the majority of us end up doing something completely irrelevant to what our "hobbies" and interests may be. 

Our generation in particular is prone to having quarter life crisis' because we find ourselves at jobs that we aren't crazy about, doing things we have no passion for. We were brought up with these ideals: pursue what you love, study what you enjoy, don't worry about the rest because it will all fall into place. But now, we're faced with an economic disaster, bombarded by loans and nowhere to turn. Almost everyone I talk to at this age truly hasn't got a clue what they're doing, or what they'll end up doing. Many post-grads find themselves working for the first job that comes their way once they graduate and a lot end up miserable. The reasons for this vary completely based on each individual, but it seems a lot of us are on the same boat. We simply don't know where to turn to anymore.

One of the reasons we are faced with such a dilemma is because we live in a workaholic society. People here make their job their life. Some have no option. Others just slowly enter this never ending dreadful cycle and then don't see a way out. Your job should not, and does not, define who you are as a person. Don't let that happen. You may be at a job that bores you or you see no real interest or future in, but that doesn't mean you should let it make you dread waking up every morning. It's true that we live in a society in which we spend much of our day at work, and sometimes feel there is little time for anything else, but don't let yourself fall into that mindset. There is certainly enough time in the day, in the week, to work your job and still have time to do what you love and work on your hobbies. Don't have a hobby? Find one. Find what you have a passion for and work on that. Who knows, maybe in the long run you'll be able to turn that into a form of income. But even if you don't, it doesn't matter. You are not your job. What makes you you is what you have passion for, what you believe in, what you do in your free time.

While I believe that life is too short to settle for anything less than extraordinary, sometimes we need to be realistic and find a balance. Since graduating college, I've found myself questioning my future a lot. As I'm sure many other post-grads do. One of my biggest fears is not figuring out what I want my career to be and essentially not living up to my true potential because of all these obstacles that get in the way. It's really scary when you're staring at your entire future and all the potential and possibilities, with about a gazillion paths to take and you are utterly confused. I still feel this way, almost all the time, but what has started to make me feel somewhat more at ease is the realization that whatever my job ends up being, doesn't really matter. It's just a job. It's not who I am. 


  1. This post is exactly what I needed! Thank you, Valerie, for writing it! I've struggled so much lately with what I want to do with my life. Do I want to go back to school? Stay at home at be a housewife? Spend my time volunteering and writing? I know I'm extremely lucky to have a husband that puts my happiness before a paycheck but the last two just don't feel "valid" to me even though they would probably make me more happy than working the 9 to 5 at a job I despise. Being an American woman is hard because you are expected to do it all and do it happily. I feel like people will judge me for not being the go-getter career woman that I know I COULD be but don't necessarily want to be. But, you're so right! Our jobs do not define us. It is our life, our dreams, our families, and what we love that matter. It's so nice to know that there are other people out there that freak out about their futures and what path will bring them the most happiness. I hope you're able to figure it out (:

  2. even though I'm going into education, I still have these same thoughts all the time. I worry whether or not I'll be a good teacher? If I've made the right decision? I've always wanted to do some traveling but feel like I can't because I need to find a job as soon as possible and pay off student loans. I worry about being in debt for the rest of my life. But then, I think that it will all work out somehow. Our jobs are important, but they're not everything. How we treat others, and our interactions with the world are far more important than anything else. Best wishes as you continue on your journey!

  3. I'm so glad I was able to help! That's always my main goal when writing posts such as these. Don't let the pressure of leading a "normal" life or what's expected of you to get in the way of your dreams, or just simply the way you want to be living your life! It's very difficult trying to figure things out. Some people just know while others struggle with it their entire lives. It's different for everybody, so it's best to just carve your own path! I agree that is comforting to know you are not alone in feeling this way and I'm glad I was able to provide that for you :) I hope you are able to figure it all out, too!

  4. I have a lot of teacher friends who feel the same way! I almost became a teacher but I was having too many doubts to fully commit. I also worry about being in debt forever... I had some major panic moments throughout my first few months as a post-grad. Eventually I realized that I can't fix it right away and I shouldn't let it get in the way of my life or my happiness. It's true that eventually it will all work out and hey, at least you're not the only one dealing with loans right! Best of luck to you on your path towards education :) It's a tough one, but definitely worthwhile.

  5. Such a great piece of introspection here, Val! It's scary to me to think that we do, in fact, live in such a workaholic society, where some people are actually OK with working from 6 am to 2 am and calling that a day. It might be a day, but I don't think it makes for a good LIFE. Cheers to you having such a good head on your shoulders and working to figure out what will be most fulfilling to you.