When posed with the prompt, “So, tell me about yourself,” I think most of us would dive in with a description of our job:
“Well, I’m a marketing manager at Facebook. I write about their advertising products for small businesses.”
It’s not completely surprising. For those who work full-time, the majority of your waking hours are spent at work. It’s no wonder that our job becomes so much a part of our identity, even when we don’t feel personally connected to our work.
It’s been interesting trying to fill that identity gap during this sabbatical. From updating my LinkedIn profile to filling out paperwork, it’s hard to decide how to self-identify.
Most recently, I had to fill out the birth certificate information for Artie. The form asked for the parents’ professions, and I didn’t know how to answer.
Though on maternity leave at the moment, I have been working as a part-time interior design assistant. But since I’m not sure if this is the path I’m going to pursue, for some reason it felt false to put that down as my profession.
I’ve been a student for the last year. But because I’m likely going to take the next semester off and am not sure if I’ll even continue the program, it also didn’t seem right to identify as a student.
I’ve been publishing this blog for over a year, so maybe I could identify as a writer. Or there’s also my work as a podcast producer, which I’ve also been doing for a year. But, I don’t make any money doing these things, so once again, it didn’t feel right noting those as my profession.
Well, I’ve been acting here in the Bay Area for over 10 years, and while it’s not enough to support me, I do make money from it. Maybe I’ll identify as an actor! No, no, the little amount of money I make from that is too laughable to be considered a profession.
The woman helping me fill out the forms stared at me as I mulled over my response, and I could tell that her patience was waning.
“Well, I’m not really working at the moment,” I blurted out.
“Ok, so homemaker?” she replied.
Of course this designation was probably the most ridiculous thing I could put down. I, by no means, keep up the household. Ryan probably does more around the apartment than I do. But I couldn’t think of anything else, so I let the answer remain.
I blamed the incident on being utterly exhausted, but even now, being slightly less sleep-deprived, it’s hard to know how I’d answer that question. Of course, why does our work even have to take the primary position of our identity?
Maybe I should embrace this period when I have no full-time job as a time when I can finally be liberated from the profession-based identity.
“So, tell me about yourself.”
Well, I thrive and really get into “flow” when I’m doing something creative, especially some DIY project. Also, when dancing to ‘90’s hip hop. It’s all about those throwback jams.
I love being social, but can be pretty lazy about organizing social gatherings myself. I’m much better at just being invited to the party.
And speaking of being social, I get along with people pretty easily, but am slow to really be close to people. So, I do great in groups but can be awkward in 1-on-1 interactions until I trust you enough.
pretty really bad at just letting myself relax and be unproductive.
I’m more likely to like your cat or dog more than your baby. Except my baby. My baby is the best.
I love trivia and word puzzles. I identify as a foodie but wish there was a better label than “foodie.”
And for better or for worse, I like to think that I live honestly, even when the truth hurts. Not particularly good. Not particularly bad. But at least honest.
We talk about our jobs and let that speak for our identity as a whole. But maybe we should be doing the opposite — really digging into the many facets of our identity and letting that guide our careers.
So, what’s a cat-crazed, Jeopardy-obsessed, food-loving creative weirdo shaking her booty to “No Diggity” to do?