It’s wonderful to have a job you love. But it can also lead to feeling defined by your work, and that can be less fun. There are a number of ways to keep work separate from your identity. For example, limit how often you check your email.
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Not everyone has a career they’re passionate about, and that’s fine. If you do, that’s fine, too. But when your entire identity is defined by that career, it can become problematic. If something goes wrong with your job, you feel like something is wrong with you.
And, as Harvard Business Review points out, when you inevitably start to feel irrelevant at work, you start to feel irrelevant in life. That’s pretty painful, so they make a case for irrelevancy:
Many of us are unhealthily — and ultimately unhappily — tied to mattering. It’s leaving us overwhelmed and over-busy, responding to every request, ring and ping with the urgency of a fireman responding to a six-alarm fire. Are we really that necessary? How we adjust — both within our careers and after them — to not being that important may matter more than mattering.
You may or may not agree with their idea that we should embrace irrelevancy. It’s not an easy sell. Still, they make a valid point that many of us take our work roles very personally.
Chances are, if your identity and career are tightly linked, you probably check your email quite often. Maybe even compulsively. To keep yourself separate from your job, they suggest limiting how often you do this. Check your email only at work and only a few times throughout the day. They also suggest resisting the temptation to check it first thing in the morning.
It’s a simple suggestion for a more serious issue, but it can go a long way. And they offer more insight, too, at the link below.