Career Change

Who Are You Without Your Job Title?

With Lydia Lee

For a lot of us, our job titles represent our identity.

When we decide to make a transition from a professional field to start something new, there’s one thing that pops into our minds.

How do I now introduce myself to someone when they ask, “What do you do?”

It’s a common question asked of us when we meet people at an event, a dinner party, and in our society, usually the question that we feel allows us to know someone better.

Because of this, a simple question like “What do you do?” can become a question that makes us feel a bit anxious, especially if we’re at the crossroads of making a career change.

For a lot of us, our job titles represent our identity.

You’re More Than Just Your Job.

This is why it can feel hard to let go of that “identity” of how we think people perceive us.

It represents our place in the world. It may give us a sense of prestige. It can define our value as an individual.

But what if you’re more than what you “do”.

What if your identity is more about…

What you care about in the world.
Your other interests and hobbies beyond work.
What excites you today that you’re looking forward to exploring.
What you’re doing right now to shape who you’re becoming.

When you start to see how your identity is more than just your job title, you start to understand the layers of what makes you, YOU.

And if we are being shaped by our environment, experiences, and actions we take, we are constantly in control on how we choose to evolve our identity.

Which means you can change any elements of your life right now without being attached to “who you’ve been” before.

What Your Identity Can Be Instead.

I love how James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, talks about what your identity truly is.  He says:

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”

So the next time someone asks, “What do you do?”, start revealing more of yourself beyond just your usual canned response of your occupation.

It may sound like…

“I’ve been a doctor for 20 years, but I’m excited about exploring holistic practices to live a healthier life so they don’t end up in my office when it’s too late.”

“I’ve devoted 10 years of my career in recruitment, and recently I’ve been inspired to explore my other interest helping people find joy in a busy life.”

“I’ve been an accountant for many years, and right now I’m taking a break to envision how I could live a more minimalist life to create more purpose with my time and money.”

“I’m in the midst of following my curiosity towards a hidden passion of mine that I’ve never done professionally before. Want to hear about it?”

When you reveal more about what you care about and how you may be reinventing your life, you open up the conversation for deeper connection with others.

People tend to be RELIEVED they won’t have to go through the same old spiel when they meet you either! It helps them to reveal more of themselves when you do it too.

Now Over To You!

So today, I’ll love to ask you…who are YOU without your job title?

What else defines who you’re becoming?

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