I love this post: You Are Not Your Job on 99u.com. For us ambitious and passionate millennials, we’re working our hardest to get that dream job or contribute to that amazing nonprofit. We go to networking events and one of the first questions we hear: what do you do? I fall into this trap as much as the next girl, so often asking that. Inevitably, we get caught in a cycle of pressure.
Answering this question is especially tough when you work for a nonprofit. How many times have you heard “you get paid for that?” or see those sad eyes that say, “aw, you’re never going to move out of your parents’ house.” Since there are a lot of misconceptions about the nonprofit sector, there are a lot of misconceptions when you answer that question.
When you get those sad eyes looking at you, don’t fret! You are not alone. Read this article and remember that what others think of your job does not define you. Even more than that, what you do doesn’t define you. Although we all spend a bunch of time at work, it doesn’t mean it needs to represent who you are. If you get reprimanded at work, it’s not because you’re a bad person. Your job is only one part of you – not all of you.
“The more we can see each other in all of our humanity, the more we can honor each other for what we really are and what life is actually about. We are people first. We are not our jobs.”
I’ve been asking myself that question regarding everything I choose to do lately. As I’m working full time and in school, and am blessed to have many friends and family around, I’m constantly being pulled in every direction when the only direction that really matters is my own. So, I’ve been working to frame every decision I make by answering a very important question: does this enhance my life?
The question can be interpreted many ways and in fact is very broad. Yes, there are obvious things, like work, that enhance my life because I get paid and can live the lifestyle I want. But there are more subtle ways my life is enhanced as well. Going to school enhances my life not only because it will help my career progress, but also because it’s sparked new curiosity in other parts of the nonprofit sector, it’s connected me to likeminded people, and it’s continuing to allow me to think critically about the sector and my role in it. Lunch with a friend enhances my life by allowing me to grow a friendship that supports me emotionally and mentally. Even something like accompanying a friend to an event – something that doesn’t appear to directly enhance my life – does, as I am supporting someone who will appreciate my friendship that much more.
I encourage you to think about the commitments you make in this context. Before blindly saying yes, ask yourself: does this enhance my life? Because while it may be a very worthy cause, if you overextend yourself, your contributions to the things that matter to you may be affected. And in the end, there’s only one thing that really matters: you.
Happy 2012! I hope you had a nice holiday celebrating with loved ones and spent the end of the year reflecting on what went well the past year and what you’re looking forward to in this one.
As opposed to making a New Year’s Resolution this year (as I did last year with stopping our TV service – which was a great decision, I might add!), I decided to adopt a 2012 mantra. My theme for 2012 is hereby:
2011, while wonderful, was a stressful year for me. It was full of change, new beginnings, and the unknown… and consequently, I got stressed out. Not just annoyed once in a while… really stressed. I felt anxious much of the time. I was unhappy often. It was a difficult adjustment.
Now that it’s been a few months since all the big changes, I’ve gotten a handle on that anxiety. I’ve been proactive about making adjustments to my life and the way I approach stress. For 2012, I want to continue on that path in a big way.
To me, living peacefully means always approaching my life in a calm, balanced way. It means living in line with my values. It means living my life the way I want to, doing the best I can, and knowing that’s perfect.
Whenever I find myself getting worried or stressed, I think about one way I’m living peacefully, or, if I’m not, a way I could in that moment. And then I tweet it. I find telling others about how I’m living out my mantra helps me actually embody the saying. So, the next time you see me tweet how I’m living peacefully, I encourage you to think about if you’re living your life the same way, and retweeting if you agree. Because we could all use a little more peace in our lives.