Jobs which lead to ‘enmeshment’, a state where work and personal life become one, are mostly self-determined.
The person is usually not working for someone else in a 9 to 5 role but is in professions that involve one’s identity, like a doctor, lawyer, entrepreneur, or lecturer.
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Common signs of enmeshment, when the boundaries between personal life and work are fuzzy, are:
When our career starts to define our own value, we have enabled our success and failure to directly affect our self-worth, something which can have detrimental effects on our identity.
The problem with a career-centric identity is that it makes the person dependent on an external factor: Their work.
When people who base their whole identity on their job are laid off, transferred or downsized, they face an existential crisis. Many have poor coping skills to handle change, and change is always happening.
The ongoing pandemic, as any global crisis, is disrupting most elements of our lives, including our work. Many are forced to try something new and are seeking a new identification.
Many are evaluating their lives for true meaning and purpose, leading to a disidentification from their job titles. It is a realization that we are not just our work.
It is good to love what you do, and find something to do that you really love doing. Most people who rigidly follow their professional ‘calling’ dictated by their upbringing, society or who they are, set themselves up for dissatisfaction, as they believe they have failed if life isn’t perfect.
Even the pressure to find the ‘calling’ can make youngsters depressed and anxious. The solution is to diversify your life, and eventually diversify yourself.
Most of us when asked ‘so what do you do?’ at a typical party conversation end up describing our job profile and the work that we do, as it makes up our main identity, and sometimes the only identity we have.
Our career takes up most of our time and energy, but only defining oneself professionally is limiting and even diminishing our self-identity.
Life has shaped us to do our jobs in a weird, almost comical way.
We are entangled to our jobs, and keep doing it way after our office hours, not because we are scared to lose our job, but because we are so identified with it, and so engulfed in our work that it has become our identity, our purpose and the only ‘happening’ part of our lives.
Passion seems to be essential for success and happiness.
Psychologists have devised tools that can measure passion to some extent. Questions were chosen that carefully differentiate passion from other experiences. Not surprisingly, people who score higher on the passion scale tend to be more committed and less likely to change jobs.
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