So many people have lost more than their jobs in this pandemic – they have lost their identities. They don’t know how to answer the question, “What do you do?”
Safety in Numbers
Since humans are wired for connection and belonging, it makes sense that we gravitate toward people with similar interests and perspectives. As we share experiences, our relationships deepen and the safety we feel as part of a group reinforces our identity. When you lose a job that severs your connection to a work group or professional association, you may struggle with how to define yourself and your value.
Who Do You Want to Be?
If you consider who you want to be and how you measure your professional and personal value, your answer might be, “I want to be a partner, parent, friend and team leader.” Bruce Shaffer, whose position as Director of Human Resources and Internal Communication for Schlumberger’s subsea business was eliminated recently, explained that he was able to move from bitterness to acceptance by getting clear about who he wants to be.
Bruce recognized his value to family members and former colleagues who needed his support. As he reflected on what success means, Bruce said Ralph Waldo Emerson described it best: “To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children … to leave the world a bit better … to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded.”
What would it mean for you to believe that you are more than the job you do?