Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Noun vs. Verb

I’ve been thinking a lot about work identity.

This topic is also on the minds of the people in my retirement workshops. For many of us, our work identities are so tightly connected to our personal identities that what we do is who we are. We’ve built reputations on what we do, how well we do it, and how society views the importance or significance of what we do. Relinquishing this identity can negatively impact our confidence and happiness.

Perhaps there is another way to think of our work and our not working.  

Dr. Art Markman, professor of psychology and marketing at University of Texas at Austin suggests we “treat our career more like a verb than a noun.” He claims, “as soon as you give a label to something, you come to believe that somebody or some object has essence of that thing. A cat — why is a cat a cat? It has essence of a cat. That’s true not just for biological categories, it’s true even for professions.”

According to Markman, “Your job title doesn’t define you. It’s just one slice of your identity, and swapping out one for another doesn’t change the core of who you are.” Click here to read full story.

When we make the shift to thinking about our career as a verb, it’s easier to release some attachment to this identity. It also builds confidence in trying new identities. Try it.

The next time you’re asked, “What do you do?” remember “do” is a verb.

Copyright 2019. Patrice Jenkins. All Rights Reserved.

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