60 Questions – Answer #5
Do you answer the question, „What do you do?” with your job-title?
I miss the time when I could say, „I am a pharmacist!” – It is a well-respected job that everybody knows. Wearing a white lab-coat during work made me feel and look competent and in charge. Those were the days.
Also good was, „I am a Global Training Manager!” I was employed by a well-known company with a good reputation then.
It felt good to say these sentences. I could borrow some reputation and a positive image from my job-titles. My EGO liked this a lot.
The people I knew accepted these jobs, so it was easy to identify myself with them. There were no negative connotations; at least nobody told me any of them. I never had to be ashamed of my jobs or had to defend doing them. Inside my bubble, nobody looked down on me for being a pharmacist. Nobody confronted me with statements like, „Ah, I see you are one of those who earn buck loads of money from overpriced drugs. Working for BIG Pharma and the like.“
It was quite comfortable inside this little box.
At the same time, I never wanted to be a pharmacist. In 9th grade, I wrote in my log during a two-week stint in a pharmacy to learn more about the real job world: “This job is boring, I can’t imagine ever working in a pharmacy.” Well, so much for that…
Deep down, I never got completely rid of this judgment. Specializing as a hospital pharmacist helped for a while, but eventually I put off the white coat and completely changed my job identity: I became a “Global Training Manager”. That title sounded like owning a business suit and having an actual career. And it felt like that in reality too. Of course, I bought those pantsuits and heels.
To me, it sounded like „I made it!“ Otherwise, I wouldn’t have had an English job-title, right?
Identifying with this job was super easy. I could do what I love: Spreading knowledge in my area of expertise. Working with participants from all over the world, and I traveled! To corners of the world, I wouldn’t have dreamt of going to before. To travel for work to Mozambique, the Philippines, Russia, India was just incredible. Of course, I loved it!
Today I can’t answer the questions with a simple one-word job-title. For quite some time, I was not too fond of the question. No answer seemed suitable. The boxes were too small or too big or simply wrong somehow.
Last year I earned my money being an article writer, researcher, trainer, coach, online-facilitator, and even as a pharmacist again. I also work on my first book – a novel. But if this will ever earn me money is still unclear. Am I an author yet?
I am self-employed. What is my job title?
In German, there is an expression that translates word by word to „egg-producing wool-milk-pig“. I think of this sometimes as a job-title, but somehow its tone does not appeal to me. Also, there are not enough projects available for this qualification.
Writing this answer, I realized how strongly my identity was tied to my job title.
“I am a pharmacist.”
But I could have said, “I work as a pharmacist, and I love to read books and to travel with my husband.” That would have said a little bit more about myself. Maybe I did not want that back that. I do not know if this was the case. I believe I just never gave it a second thought.
These old identities, with their sense of safety and belonging, are long gone. Now I have to tell more about myself, or I start to cringe and create complicated explanations.
Besides, my Inner Critic also has an unequivocal opinion about respectable jobs. He is not too amused about my multitude of jobs. He thinks along the lines of „Jack of all trades. Master of none.“ And then „Writing a book? Are you insane! There is no career or money in that!“
Of course, there is a lot of eye-rolling. He prefers safety and clear definitions.
Once he is done with all the criticizing and I can think clearly again, I come currently to the following answer “I am spreading knowledge about health and therapies. I help people feel good about their lives, and I facilitate that groups work well together. I also tremendously enjoy writing and telling stories. I do these things professionally, and besides that, I love to read, to work in my garden, to go on long walks, and have endless conversations with my husband.”
I believe I do not need a “one-word-job-title” anymore.
This feels good and a little bit exciting.