Can/Should Work Affect Our Identity? Understanding our "being"7 min read

Perhaps

the most dreaded question that a “jobless” person faces is this, “So what do you do?” In a split second, what goes on in their mind will help us to answer our question for today.

Should work affect our identity? Should our identity be connected to what we do? Or rather, is our identity indeed connected with what we do or don’t do in terms of labour or work?

Self Deficiency

In the previous eight or so articles, I extensively covered the subject of self-deficiency. There is no doubt that the person who does not work (not necessarily the person who does not have a job) has their identity thoroughly affected.

So let us personalize this question. Is your identity affected by what you do or what you don’t do in terms of work? I think the obvious answer is that yes, our identity really is affected by the work that we do.

Work is a Blessing

We have already established that work is a blessing to the human. We have seen that the very nature of creation needs a human to function. In other words, the creation was specifically designed so that man can take advantage of time, systems, processes, laws and principles in order to unleash their best works.

So when you are “jobless” and someone asks you, “So what do you do?” What really goes on in your mind is a whirlwind of things that are anchored in nothing else but your identity.

Creation was specifically designed so that man can take advantage of time, systems, processes, laws and principles in order to unleash their best works. ~ Lawrence Namale #Work Click To Tweet

Born With It

Even before you can feel guilty when you encounter such a question, you will be having a longing to work. It is an inherent thing. It is an inside thing.

You see, work is not an appendage that you impute on a human. Just like blood flows through the veins of a human to give life to the body, work flows through the psyche of the human to impute on them an identity.

We are identified by our works. This identity is not just what others perceive of us, but strongly, what we perceive of ourselves.

Just like blood flows through the veins of a human to give life to the body, work flows through the psyche of the human to impute on them an identity. ~ Lawrence Namale #Work #Purpose Click To Tweet

Why is this important?

It is important because the world needs change. The world needs impact. The world needs innovation and creativity. The world needs inventions. Constantly. The human race will never peak in terms of growth and development. We can always be better.

Why? Because we were designed by the creator to create. For as long as we are alive we will be engaged either in initiating, creating, managing or improving that which has already been created.

The human race will never peak in terms of growth and development. We can always be better. ~ Lawrence Namale #Growth #Purpose #Potential Click To Tweet

Different Work Levels?

One could argue that there are different levels of “work”. These different levels are of course connected to the different reasons why we work. We tried to answer that question in the previous article.

Abraham Maslow tried to structure this information in what is famed as the “pyramid of needs”. Well, I can tell you that behind that pyramid, there is just one word, one anchor which is “work”.

Survival?

Some people work in order to fend for themselves and survive. It is through work that they are able to put food on the table and clothes on their backs. I believe that even though this is absolutely critical, it is the basic reason for working, but not the real reason.

The people who are working to survive would be proud of their initiative and sense of responsibility, but when it comes to their identity, they will always know that there could be something better that they would want to do.

Esteem and Lifestyle?

Some people work so that they can have some kind of lifestyle. Others work so that they can receive the esteem of their fellow men and women. Still, others work so that they can protect themselves from hardship.

When it comes to identity though, I have realized that the greatest identity one can create for themselves is that which comes from their core work. What is their core work? It is simply that work that uses their utmost giftedness, intelligence and passion in order to positively impact the universe.

When it comes to identity, I have realized that the greatest identity one can create for themselves is that which comes from their core work. ~ Lawrence Namale #Work #Purpose Click To Tweet

Identity and Work

The inherent identity of a human, that identity that is there even before we start working is a powerful communicator. It tells us that the greatest reason why we were created was so that we can work. There is no other bigger purpose of the human race other than to work.

We have already established that work is not a curse. Yes, there will be difficulty, setbacks and hardship at work. It is part of the process and the nature of work. That is how we are to grow, improve and develop. I can easily say this, that there is no other greater conduit for the development of an individual other than work.

There is no other bigger purpose of the human race other than to work. ~ Lawrence Namale #Work #Purpose Click To Tweet

The Definition of Work

How you define work is another thing altogether. I believe when a student is researching to know how a molecule works, that is work. When a writer like myself faces a blank sheet of paper and has to fill it with thoughts and insights, inspiration and instruction, that is work.

Work is not just which you are paid to do. Anything that makes you create, think, initiate, manage, exert effort, go against the grain, change, or even maintain an already conquered frontier, that would be work.

Work is not just which you are paid to do. Anything that makes you create, think, initiate, manage, exert effort, go against the grain, change, or even maintain an already conquered frontier, that would be work. ~ Lawrence Namale #Work… Click To Tweet

Wages, Salaries and Bonuses

Well, how about the payment? I might say something that is extremely controversial. Payment for work was never the central theme for working. Change, impact, influence and full deployment of glory was.

Work was meant to create things and make this world a better place. Through work, we should be able to meet as many needs as are found on Maslow’s pyramid.

However, we need to reconcile to the fact that even before we can start ascending the pyramid, our identity as humans is already connected to work. We were born to work. We were born to create. We only come alive as humans when we work, not when we are “enjoying life”.

Payment for work was never the central theme for working. Change, impact, influence and full deployment of glory was. ~ Lawrence Namale #Work #Purpose Click To Tweet

Comfort, Rest and Relaxation

Speaking of enjoying life, rest and relaxation are as fundamentally important as work itself is. Here is the thing though: you have no business having rest and relaxation if you did not work.

The greatest problem we see today is human beings trying to gain identity from activities of comfort, rest and relaxation instead of gaining it from work.

The greatest problem we see today is human beings trying to gain identity from activities of comfort, rest and relaxation instead of gaining it from work. ~ Lawrence Namale #Purpose #Work Click To Tweet

This is what you and I can do. First, let’s know that we were born to work. Second, let’s have the correct definition of work. Third, let us work. In between, we can rest, relax and have vacations. Where the rubber meets the road, our identity is strongly connected to our work.

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