Job loss can have a far-reaching impact on workers’ life trajectories. For many, losing a job not only means the loss of income, but also the loss of one’s identity. This short article provides an insight on how to separate one’s self-worth from one’s job that might help a larger audience in distress (whether one’s job is impacted or not) and also how to shape our lives and prepare for a better tomorrow.
There has been a spurt in Career Coaching requests that I receive as professionals are raring to get back to work now, unsurprisingly more so from those who have unfortunately lost their jobs. While career counsellors and advisers would instruct individuals to get back to any sort of employment, most immersive coaching conversations that I have had in the past few months revealed the bigger picture.
While the most immediate, obvious pain that comes to mind from a job loss is financial security, however, there’s more to this than what meets the eye. If we scratch beyond the surface, more than the impact on income, it’s also about losing one’s only sense of identity. Job title, work schedule, office space, recognition at work, that employer brand flashing on your ID card, that sense of importance that a meeting offers… this is how most corporate avatars are defined.
The fact, however, is that there is so much that we can offer the world and there’s even more that it gives back to us. We have additional skills that we’ve forgotten about, let them resurface, if not, let’s work on discovering new ones. Expand your horizons, look up, and realize that the paper you were furiously scribbling on till now has a blank, unexplored canvas on the reverse as well!
Those who believe that they have no real skill besides their professional qualifications should read about Nick Vujicic. He was born with an extremely rare congenital disorder known as Phocomelia, which is characterized by the absence of legs and arms. At 21 years of age, he completed his degree with a double major in Accounting and Financial Planning. However, the career that he has carved out for himself is – motivational speaking (he has travelled the world doing this), writing (has authored 8 books till date) & philanthropy (founded Life without Limbs Foundation).
Outside his work, Nick plays sports (including swimming, surfing, and skydiving) and is happily settled with his wife and four kids. Now Nick might seem to be an extreme exception but there are scores of other people around us who are excelling at leading multi-faceted lives and creating not only an income but happiness & well-being for themselves and others.“While the most immediate, obvious pain that comes to mind from a job loss is financial security, however, there’s more to this than meets the eye. If we scratch beyond the surface, more than the impact on income, it’s also about… Click To Tweet
Delving deeper, the actual void that accompanies a job loss is not only because the experience itself is unpleasant but because we do not have an identity outside the office, which is plain sad and being unfair to ourselves. And thus losing a job is unfortunately akin to an absolute identity crisis! I do not profess this to solely safeguard against future job losses, but for a larger mind-shift to really thrive in life and not let a ‘job’ alone define your individuality. You are more than a job title and capable of more than you can imagine. Although it is disheartening to see that employment breaks are considered a taboo in our country and our workforce looks down upon people with career breaks (I wrote about it sometime back in one of the previous editions of the magazine). Hopefully, slowly and gradually things are changing.
For far too long we’ve let our jobs alone define us, maybe this is the time to realize that our being is beyond that. Celebrate friendships and family, explore new facets of life, be thankful for your good health and appreciate how privileged most of us around are. With this realisation will come the gift of ‘resilience’ and the way the world is shaping up, everyone needs to have more of that.