Work can very easily take up the majority of your waking hours, especially when you include your commute and the time it takes to get ready each morning.
And when you’re spending so much of your time in the workplace, your job can start to feel like the most important aspect of your life.
And while it’s true that your career is important to your life as a whole, especially when it comes to financial security, you should never feel that your self worth is tied to a job.
In this article, we will explain how someone can come to feel that their job and their identity are one and the same. We will also explain why this is a dangerous mindset and how you can avoid it in the future.
More Than Just an Employee
Companies often find different ways to encourage their employees to work as hard as they can. The harder a company’s employees work, the more customers they can serve.
From a business perspective, it’s advisable to pay employees as little as possible while still paying enough to encourage employees to stay.
Performance reviews are another tool that many businesses use to encourage employees to improve certain aspects of their work performance.
And while these methods, when applied properly, can create a win-win for both a company and its employees, they can also have a negative effect on certain employees.
Depending on your personality type, you may tend to focus too heavily on criticism you’ve received in the workplace.
And one of the potential effects of this mindset is feeling that your job is the most important part of your life.
But no matter what you feel when you’re at work, you are more than just an employee. It’s important to regularly remind yourself that there is more to life than work.
Don’t Limit Your Focus
The first major step in gaining a broader perspective on life in general and your identity outside of work is to try your best to not limit your focus.
When you’re at work, of course, you should focus on the tasks at hand and try to avoid distractions.
But you should also give yourself plenty of breaks, during which you can turn your attention to anything besides your work.
Try to focus on aspects of your social life or make plans for something fun to do on the weekend.
You may even want to call a friend or a loved one during your lunch break. Ask them about their day and what they’ve been up to lately.
By the time you have to return to your work, you’ll feel much more motivated to finish your tasks and won’t be so worried about your standing within the office.
Take Control of Your Free Time
I think there’s a tendency among many of us to come home from work and immediately turn off our brains.
We change into more comfortable clothes, maybe lay down for a bit, and just generally try to find ways to relax and do as little as possible.
And while relaxation is key to leading a healthy lifestyle, there are both productive and unproductive ways to relax.
If you find yourself focusing on work-related anxiety at home, long after your shift has ended, then you may want to consider making an effort to engage yourself in hobbies or activities that require your full attention.
A good example would be learning to cook more creative and complicated recipes. Even if you don’t feel like cooking a meal that day, you can watch some instructional cooking or baking videos and take notes.
Having creative outlets is another great way to divert your attention from worries about the workplace.
Learn More About Yourself
Another helpful activity for any time you’re not on the clock is to make a serious effort to learn more about yourself.
Apart from working on personal hobbies and interests that you’re already aware of, you can also try to encourage yourself to try out many different brand new activities.
Join a spin class at a nearby gym or rec center. Make plans to do some extensive traveling during your upcoming vacation time.
You could even dedicate some time to reading up on a specific subject that you’ve been curious about for a long time.
Follow Your Passion
This is the part of the process where you can look to the past and examine some of your past interests and passions that have fallen by the wayside, most likely due to the time and effort that your career has required.
We don’t all end up in the career paths that we would have preferred. If you’re happy with your current job, then there’s no need to backtrack.
But if you find yourself feeling especially unsatisfied with your current career trajectory, then you should consider devoting at least some of your free time to rediscovering your passions.
Make Your Life Count
Another great form of positive thinking is to simply think of others. Look for opportunities in your city for volunteering or offering financial assistance to those in need.
This is just one of many ways you can have a real-world impact on different contemporary issues.
Dwelling on what you dislike about your own life doesn’t help anyone. But dedicating your time and efforts to helping others will help you feel better about yourself and open your eyes to the world outside of your typical routine.
The Importance of Community
Focusing too much on your work and drawing your sense of self worth from it can sometimes be a symptom of a lack of community in your everyday life.
Many people find community among friends and family. Others are able to find community-based around mutual interests that they share with others.
If you’ve been feeling isolated recently, then now is your chance to step outside of yourself and nurture a healthy social life.
Try reconnecting with some old friends or join a group based on one of your favorite hobbies.
Over time, you’ll enjoy your life outside of work on a much deeper level.