What’s your response when someone whom you’ve just met asks you what you do? Do you tell him or her your occupation as if that’s who you are? Do you label yourself into a box with presumed connotations, false impressions, or negative or positive associations?
Ok. So we’ve been programmed to answer this question invariably to indicate a social status. There are lawyers, doctors, chemists, and the like who probably make a substantial income. But others who teach, perform, create, or keep books for a living are just as valuable even if our society may not place these in a desirable light for one reason or another. Take a look at the labels. If a person is a janitor, the connotation is negative. The word janitor is replaced with a euphemism, a more desirable name, such as building maintenance worker. The garbage truck driver is now a sanitation worker. Regardless, an occupation is just an occupation. It’s the society and culture that forces the label upon us. What our culture can’t do is take away how one feels about his or her work. A financial planner might feel she’s in a dead end job and cannot wait to find something different. A barista might feel incredibly satisfied with his work. It doesn’t matter what one does to provide the necessary things for survival.
Try something different the next time a new acquaintance greets you with the ‘hello’ small talk and asks that dreadful question. What do you do? Answer, I dream, I write, I play cards with my children, I enjoy plays, I skip rope, I camp in a tent, I sculpt, I run, I bike, I have fun taking classes, I enjoy my life . . .
Imagine, now, the look you’ll get.
Imagine, as well, that the new person would really like to get to know the real you, not the descriptive you.
Think about this . . . Your job or occupation does not make you who you are. Identity crises happen when one has been a piano player all his life, but is no longer able to perform due to arthritis. An athlete with broken bones from a devastating accident must find out who she really is is more painful than the cause of the debilitation. Holding onto that identifying position, or social status in life, can cause great pain if change occurs. And things do change in this world. Often.
You’ll recognize this guy:
Remembering the glory days is what he’ll be talking about. The high school game he won at the last second. Where is he 20 years later? Still trying to hold onto a description of himself that once made him feel he had accomplished something great.
Live in the moment of today. Find what you love to do and go do that. Don’t get caught up in telling others your occupation in order to fit in. You’ll eventually sell yourself short. With so many aspects to your personality, why stifle yourself or risk the possibility that someone will misread your potential and multifaceted capabilities and stamp a label on your being. There are no boundaries to what you can do, and no boundaries to who you have become. Set yourself apart from those who proclaim one small aspect of themselves. Be free. See the sky.