How our jobs shape our identity

jobs identity

This blog post at The Book of Life can help throw some light on how our jobs have actually turned us into the people we are today.
This is an exercise that we must consider seriously as it can improve our self-awareness. Most of the problems that we face in the modern world such as status anxiety, stress, lack of peace of mind, and so on could be largely due to our lack of self-awareness. Understanding our own values and thoughts can drastically improve our lives and help us lead an honest life.
Here are the key psychological profiles of some of the jobs.

1. Patience v/s impatience

Patience – Aeronautical Engineer, Civil servant
Impatience – News editor, A+E nurse

2. Suspicious v/s trusting

Suspicious – Journalist, management consultancy, antique dealer
Trusting – Psychotherapy, skiing instructor, air traffic control

3. Speculative v/s concrete

Speculative – Think tank researcher, poet, futurologist
Concrete – Fresh fruit logistics, roofer

4. Consensus-seeking v/s independent

Consensus-seeking – School teacher, holiday rep
Independent – Tennis coach, entrepreneur

5. Optimistic v/s pessimistic

Optimistic – Marketing, personal coaching, sommelier
Pessimistic – Accountants, in-house counsels

6. Financially focussed v/s sheltered from finance

Financially focussed – Solicitor, corporate executive
Sheltered from finance – Academic, teacher

7. Dignity is fragile v/s a solid status

Dignity is fragile – Artists, poets
A solid status – Every bachelor of veterinary science

8. Better nature v/s worse nature

Better nature – Palliative care, midwife
Worse nature – Police, family law

9. Logical v/s haphazard hierarchy

Logical hierarchy – Airline pilot, teacher
Haphazard hierarchy – TV production, politics

10. Being in a declining v/s a growing industry

Declining industry – Publishing, broadcast TV, diplomatic service
Growing industry – Social media, technology

Why is this important?

Being in a particular psychological environment every day for years has a pretty big impact on our habits of mind. It influences what we assume other people are like, it forms our view of life and gradually shapes who we are. The psychology inculcated by the work we do doesn’t stay at work. We carry it with us into the rest of our lives.

What does this mean in the big picture – helps develop empathy and pity for others around us.

Keeping in mind how work shapes a person means we should be slower to blame other people for the way they are. Perhaps it is their job, not ‘them’ that has made them as they are – that has made them so nervous, angry, or boring. It’s the employment environment we should blame, not them. The TV executive was not always like this, the corporate lawyer was not born as they now are. They might have been other people. Our identities are vulnerable to our jobs. And that may open the avenues of pity.

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