Are You Defined By Your Job? Be Inspired to Strike a Balance Between Self-Esteem & Work

By Reniel


Last Updated: October 27, 2021

Society and culture encourage us to study hard, graduate with stellar grades, get a nice job, and work very hard on that job.

This charge is doubly so for entrepreneurs – who are hit day and night with motivational quotes, videos, as well as real-life conversations all telling them to grind harder and harder. 

The result of all of this is that once a person gets a job or starts a business, they are compelled to work more than is required, or is healthy. In fact, it gets so serious that people start feeling bad whenever they aren’t doing something.


We Are Addicted to Being Busy

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), anxiety around not being busy enough and staying busy to avoid dealing with negative thoughts or events are real issues. 

Some try to fill up their to-do lists with more and more tasks – no matter how humdrum, and unimportant, whilst others become unable to enjoy their work-free moments. This can become an actual addiction if we aren't careful! 

Productivity tools, resources, hacks, and all other related products are hot on the market these days because everyone is trying to get as much done as possible within the shortest time possible.

This is because the person who snoozes doesn’t only lose, they become losers. Whilst the person who sacrifices sleep, rest, and even their health for more achievements is termed a go-getter. Work ethic and self-esteem are now devastatingly tied together, and some people think this is okay.

Society has put productivity on steroids and placed it on a pedestal. The engine has been set to turbo mode, and guess who is fueling it?


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Does Your Job Define You? It All Started With Our Names

A survey was taken about the names of people.

The researchers revealed that the most popular surname in Switzerland and Germany was Muller, which means Miller (as in, a person who works in a mill. For example, someone who works at a corn mill, or wheat mill).

In Slovakia, the most common surname was Varga, which means Cobbler (as in, a person who mends shoes for a living). And in the US, UK, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, the most popular Surname was Smithy (as in a blacksmith, locksmith, gunsmith, or silversmith). 

When traced, these names dated back to the Middle Ages. Back to the times when people specialized in a single craft and mastered it, so much so that it became a family name. But why?

It was because, back then, communities were much smaller. A single craftsman could take care of the needs of a community. This also meant there was no need for shifting occupations because there was probably someone else who was already taking care of the community’s needs in that regard.

The result of this was that rather than looking for better careers, people just focused on doing the best in what they were already doing.

They had plenty of work too because there was no competition. This also meant that their children had a better chance of success if they just focused on the field their parents were already dominating; hence, they answered the names Smith, Muller, or Varga as the circumstance may be.

And, because back then everyone knew exactly who was responsible for a particular job, the reputation of the family was tied to how effectively they could do that job. If there was war looming, the Smiths could still produce 2,000 spares within a week because work was truly a matter of life and death.


We Are Not Carrying Our Whole Community Anymore

Fast forward to the 21st century, and people are still holding on to that mindset.

Whilst it is still good to do your best wherever you find yourself, you need to realize that you are no longer the only one doing that craft and that the fate of the community doesn’t rest on your shoulders anymore.

You don’t have to tie your self-esteem to your work anymore because the playing grounds have changed. 

Yes, it is good to be dedicated, committed, and even passionate about your work. It is good to stay focused and do your best, but what is not good is tying your personality and self-esteem to your work.

The truth is that things don’t always go smoothly in this hyper-competitive world we find ourselves in today.

And if you are tying your self-esteem to how much work you can do, especially how successful it turns out to be (because let’s face it, unsuccessful work does not really count) then you have set yourself up for an emotional rollercoaster.

One moment you feel on top of the world, and the next you feel useless. And because you’ve once felt the emotional high from succeeding, you would only be tempted to push yourself harder – by working 90+ hours a week, and even on the weekends, day and night... no days off. 


Let's Slow Down

You essentially place your self-esteem on something very volatile and tentative. Soon you move from being a hard worker to being a workaholic. You put your health, relationships, and sanity on the line; and for what?

What would be the benefit of all that work if you fall ill? How meaningful is the work if it makes you question your purpose and worth every time some other company makes more sales than you?

Don’t play that game. Take a breather.    

Photo by Monstera from Pexels


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