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How do you identify with your job?

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    Perhaps the question for me is,”How have I stopped identifying with my job?

    I have worked for seven years at a global company that is in the fast food industry, as a network administrator. For six of those seven I loved my job. It paid quite well and I felt like I was able to help people to perform their jobs. So the sense of being supportive was as important to me as was the intellectual passion that I dedicated to the role.

    But things began to change. Once, I was loyal to the company, now I have begun to see things that have managed to disturb my equilibrium with a subtle yet invasive power.

    Perhaps it was when one of the executive team described the company as a ‘a business that juts happens to sell food.’ Maybe there’s nothing wrong with that except I prefer the idea that in providing food we are actually performing some service to the enhancement of lives, rather than just the endless chasing of financial growth.

    Or perhaps it’s things like the fact that one person in our team, by himself, is given the responsibility for one fifth of the targets which relate to our bonus structure. And this in a high stress role. And he has a heart condition. I think they may have sent him flowers when he was in hospital. I am scared when executives begin to say things like ‘people are our biggest asset.’ Why am I scared? Because that means we are only a line away from being placed on the liability side of the balance sheet by an accountant worth his weight in digits. And if we’re liabilities then we’re expendable. However that may happen.

    Add to this my feeling that I am expected to do more work with fewer and fewer resources, year after year. Soon, I began to look at myself as some kind of machine. metropolis style. Or a corporate monkey, dancing for shillings tossed in the organ grinder’s hat. Am I even human any more?

    However, I’ve also been privileged to work as a facilitator for a men’s support group in Brisbane, called MARS.

    the men there have been an inspiration to me in terms of their survival skills and their ability to thrive despite the huge and painful obstacles that they have had to overcome. This opportunity has incited in me some electric sense of purpose which I suppose I have searched for throughout my life. A purpose which is lacking in my current job, no matter how big the bonus.

    So I’m moving into nursing next year, hopefully. With a bit of luck, I’ll be accepted at ACU in December to start my degree in February and my sense of meaning will have developed that bit more.

    Here’s to new horizons and all the distant promise that they bring.

    Take care whatever you do.


    Herby, I loved your first post, how to answer THAT question! I work with children with additional needs and I love it. My husband’s salary enables me to work part time and run our children around to all their sporting activities and be there cheering them on. I love my garden and growing food for my family, I love all of our pets and I love being able to work towards our dream of land and a sustainable future.

    Nev cracks me up though, I reckon he’s got it all worked out!:lol:

    Cheers, Laura.


    I work as a registered nurse- i identify with it because i enjoy helping people and i have always been interested in the healing arts. It also means that i get paid well enough that i dont have to work more than two days a week so i can balance out my work with kids/ family/ life stuff. I am a nurse- not just when i am at work though, I am a helper 😉

    Yes there is conflict between my ethics viewpoint and my job- the disposable EVERYTHING is a good start!! I hear the landfill spaces crying! I also dont believe that modern hospitals are best designed for healing- being treated when you are very ill yes, but not for healing if you get what i mean…..


    I really enjoy my job! My two best subjects in high school were aviation and electronics. So now i’m an aircraft maintenance engineer, avionics. I enjoy nutting out the problems when the aircraft break down. The shift pattern gives me a six day weekend after six days on, so i have plenty of time to relax in the garden or play with my family. Or plot my own engineering projects (like the electric bike).

    As far as identifying with the job goes. I tend to think of myself as an engineer, though not necessarily always aircraft. However when people ask me what i do, i usually reply “i’m an electrician” as that’s simpler and i don’t have to explain what ‘avionics’ is. 😛


    Another aviation person here. Except I’m a biscuit chucker, otherwise known as a flight attendant. I love this job for the shift work and ability to change your working patterns month by month. It also gives me a lot more ‘me’ time than office work. My work never comes home with me, once I step outside an airport my work has truly ended. It means that when I’m off duty I’m free to pursue whatever interests me unfettered.

    One thing I find really advantageous about this job is that there are rules about when and how your work can contact you in your off duty time. Sure they own you when you are on duty but other than that your free time is truly free. Something that never happened when I worked in an office. Even on holidays work would be calling me asking me about this or that. There are no ongoing projects and deadlines are only one day long. I really enjoy the variability of the work and ease with which I can switch it off. It’s the perfect job for having a sideline business or hobby.

    For the money, I work a lot less hours than the average worker too. A really high hours week is about 36hrs, mostly its under 30hrs. Working at altitude is very taxing on the body though and FA’s end up with a lot more health issues a lot faster than the ground worker. Staying fit and healthy is a top priority because sleep and eating patterns are easily disrupted and chronic dehydration is a lifestyle in this career.

    The big drawback with this job is the fact it’s so repetitive and requires a lot of emotional energy from you dealing with hundreds of people a day. Those who don’t have outside interests or hobbies usually burn out quickly. You tend to become very insular within the aviation industry too as your outside friends usually drop off the radar since you are often working weekends, public holidays and the times when most people have off.

    But, I’d like to make a 2nd career of gardening, especially the niche gardening on balconies and other tiny spaces. It’s something I have the time to do and I’d love to be able to help others achieve their food supply goals in urban spaces. One day I will. For now I’m just learning and experimenting and enjoying.


    I’ve just started working again (well started last May) after 12+ years as a SAHM. All 4 children were in the same school (prep, gr 2, gr 5 and gr 7) and I really enjoyed it. Not the work itself, I was (and still am) a cleaner at school, but it’s the first job where someone said ‘thank you’ to me and genuinely meant it. This year, I’m able to do teacher aide work as well and I love it. I work in the early years classrooms and to see the students concentrating, trying to understand whichever concept it is and then clicking “I got it!” is fantastic. I don’t think I’ll ever have a large part of my identity as a TA (and not a cleaner), but I do enjoy it.

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