You are not your job

My adult life self-worth has put way to much emphasis on:

  • how much I get paid
  • how important my job sounds
  • how many people I’m ‘in charge’ of
  • how often I ‘advance’

This drive has resulted in a loss of sight of the big picture – happiness, wellbeing and family.

The self-worth based on my job came to a head last week and I experienced a breakdown.

To avoid tedious detail, I felt stuck, bored and unfulfilled.  And this dissatisfaction had begun seeping into my home life, which is unacceptable, being pissed off with the system was no excuse to let it impact everyone else in my life.

One night, the frustration reached breaking point and I snapped at the thought of going into work tomorrow.

You are not your job

Following countless discussion and personal reflection, my problems stemmed from a perceived lack of progress in my career and this was dwarfing the rest of my life.

My estimation of life success being linked to career success was the symptom.

This is all wrong.  To reference Fight Club‘You are not your job’

While wallowing in self-loathing, I told my wife I had ‘achieved nothing’ and ‘wasted my time for the last two years’.

To my shame, she rightly reminded me of my success as a father, where I had made a point of being totally hands on with our little girl.

I had been myopic for so long and suddenly saw my success and progress from a new perspective.

The whole situation made me think of myself as a person outside the nine to five – as a father, husband… an avid gym goer.

There were many results achieved, quickly forgotten while continuing to focus around day-in, day-out about career stagnation.

It reminded me of all the things I was neglecting at the result of my job, such as my writing.

Since the first time I suffered stress, my perceived worry has always been – when will this happen again?

It took five years, but it’s okay, experience from my first break down had made me more resilient, being much more efficient at bouncing back and the next day I was already making plans to fight it.

With stress I have learnt to accept this is something that happens to me and it doesn’t make me a weak person or someone who ‘can’t hack it’.

In some respects I am grateful for my stress breakdowns, as it gets me thinking of solving the issue, rather than just ignoring the issue.

“In some respects I am grateful for my stress breakdowns, as it gets me thinking of solving the issue, rather than just ignoring the issue”.


Today I replan what I want  over the next year and continue to remind myself of all I’ve achieved, all the good things going for me and remembering the people who care about me.

My sense of ambition is both a blessing and a curse, as it has a tendency to tell me I am not good enough, yet gives me the drive to address the issue and ensure I don’t just accept my situation.

For now remember:

You are not your job

You are not your career

Your worth is not based on a pay packed

Your value of who you are as a person, is not based on a job title

Your qualities as an individual, are not focused on your career standing.

Thank you friends, have a good day.

If you enjoyed this post, I would welcome your experiences with stress in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “You are not your job

    1. Thank you! It was a major wakeup call for me as I lived, eat, and sleeped for more job, now I realise it’s not the definitive measure of a person’s self-worth and now all I can see are people stuck in the same trap I was 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!


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