Job searching has ignited an identity crisis within me. It starts out fine, with a simple question of “what’s next?” and then before I know it I am questioning my own vision of myself. So, it comes to no surprise that I am finding it extremely difficult to find a job that I believe fits to who I truly am.
So, what do I want to do?
That is a question I have been playing around with lately. As the job search rages on and I look forward to next year, I must ask myself what do I want to do? Sometimes this question gets mixed up with, who do I want to be? The second question is easier than the first. I want to be a great daughter, sister, and friend. I want to be a wonderful fiancée (and future wife!) One day I even hope to be a loving mother. I also want to be healthy, fit, happy, caring, and a resource to others. However, when I think about what I want to do it’s a bit more open. I want to continue to write and let my words touch others. I want to help others reach a better part of themselves, through healthy living, self-confidence, and encouragement. I want to teach yoga to anyone and everyone who is curious enough to step on their mat. I want to interact with people, I want to feel productive and helpful. I want to work more with my hands (and no, typing doesn’t count). But where is a job description for that? I haven’t found one.
I believe this identity confusion is a result of centuries of evolution into our modern day 9-5 work schedule. Often we find ourselves defining who we are based on what we do. This makes our job choice feel like a hugely powerful and defining decision. It’s not entirely our fault, as we are conditioned to think like this. It is totally normal for someone to ask, “what do you do?” But if someone asked, “who are you?” we would back away slowly, with a confused look on our faces. It was much easier when I was a student. I could always respond with what I was studying at school or what I enjoyed doing with my free time. I was always just me--a wide-eyed college student studying ideas, thoughts, words, and actions. I was a proud student of life. At that point in my own life, it was impossible to separate what I did Monday through Friday with who I was as a person—they were intimately connected.
But as I grow up (*sigh*) and get farther from the physical classroom, there is a greater struggle to define who I am and what I do. This evolution is natural and it’s all part of our journey. So whether I hate it or not, I must face it. Inevitably, those first questions about doing and being lead to the big question, what do I really want? I’ve always known that I never wanted to be the person who is miserable from 9am to 5pm and then lives for the weekends. That would feel like a life too rushed, segmented, and ultimately disconnected. “There is more to life than increasing its speed,” Gandhi.
For me, I must be mindful in my movements, but I cannot get bogged down anticipating the next step. While practicing yoga, you cannot force or rush through the transitions from one asana to the next. If you do, you risk getting hurt. Therefore, I must be patient and yet determined to find a job that I believe in, that I am passionate about, and is in line with my values. Working for a greater purpose.
In order to work for a greater purpose, we must find a purpose from within. Perhaps that purpose is providing for a family, perhaps its helping others in need, maybe it is buying a house of our own. Whatever that purpose is, it is yours. It is who you are and your reason for doing that can define you—not your job title.
So, as I work through finding a way to make an income, I must always remember my current job: a lifelong student of living.