I don’t think we should be defined by our jobs.

By July 9, 2013 Blog No Comments

I don’t think that we should be defined by our jobs.

I’m not saying that we are. I’m not saying that there is some database out there that compiles all of our information, alphabetizes it, and then spits it back out through some complex equation that will forever equate us with what we do for a living. I’m not saying that somewhere, right now, there is a machine that is tap tapping away and scribing that I, Jason Henry, will be forever known as an enrollment advisor, or counselor, or specialist, or whatever you want to call it.

I’m just saying that it feels that way. I’m just saying that sometimes it feels like we are defined by our occupation. It feels like we are what we do, but not the good things, or the bad. Not the great or the awful. No, we’re just Bob the Builder, or Dora the Explorer. We’re just Chris the Apple Guy or Ted the Architect.

We become what we do.

And I hate that.

I hate it because I waste 40 hours each week doing something that I could not care less about. Before you jump to conclusions, I’m not knocking my current employer. I’m not knocking my former employer. I’m knocking all employers everywhere because it’s a universal feeling. It’s how we all feel and it gets worse.

It gets worse because not only do we spend 40 hours each week working there, but we spend an additional 5 hours on “lunch”.  On top of that, we spend another 5 to 10 hours in travel time. So total, 50 to 55 hours, a third of our week, are spent working.

That doesn’t include getting ready for work. That doesn’t include sleeping or eating (outside of lunch). That doesn’t include anything but the time that we devote to work.

And somehow, we make it even worse.

We make it worse because after we leave work, it’s the only thing that we talk about. We get home and we complain about the asshole that sits next to us. We complain about the annoying girl four cubes over that hasn’t shut up since 1992. We complain about the policies that don’t make sense and the things that we could change but don’t. We complain, and complain, and complain.

And no one cares. I mean, why would they? We complain to people that don’t know the people that we’re talking about. They don’t know the job or the situation. They don’t know the lingo or what the hell a “DM” is. And they don’t want to know. They have to deal with their own mound of mundane manure every day.

…but we do it anyway.

We tell them about the crazy woman at work who regurgitates everything her boss spits into her mouth. We tell them about the man that hasn’t even tried to do his job in eight years. We tell them everything and we don’t spare a detail.  No, we get the fibers in the carpet. We get the colors and the textures of the paper plates. We get everything and we don’t ever stop to think that no one gives a shit.

We don’t stop to think that we’re wasting even more of our week on something that could not be more trivial. We’re wasting our energy. We’re wasting the time of the person that we’re complaining too, and we’re wasting our own time.

We’re wasting our two thirds.

And that needs to change.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of it.  I spend all that time working. I invest a third of my week into my career and when I come home, I have a hard time leaving it there. I have a hard time turning it off and that’s when it starts.

That’s when the complaints come out.  That’s when the bitching begins, when the stories surmise. That’s when I babble on about a bunch of shit that no one else cares about and I know that it’s good to vent. I know that it’s good to talk about your feelings and that it’s good to exercise all of that, but it’s also good to exercise control.

It’s good to reel it back.

To breathe.

To think.

To live.

To do anything but rot in a definition.

Because we are not defined by what we do. We are not defined by our careers, or our possessions. We are not defined by what we drive, or what we wear. We are not defined by our kids, or our pets.

We are defined by what we practice.

We are defined by what we want to be.

And I’m tired of being a job.

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