Rule 10, Chapter 12: Your job should not define you

Last week, I had a mini epiphany. The clue as to what this was is in the title of this post.

british-newspapers-881358_640I was reading the Daily Mail’s You magazine at the time (I hate to admit it…), but the article I was skimming though actually made me double take. And indeed re-think the old career path. Let me try to explain….

I work in media, essentially doing a weird job which is a mix of sales, marketing and creative stuff for a national newspaper group. I have done this for various media companies for the last 15 years.

Therefore I:

  • Drink far more than I should do
  • Swear like an absolute trooper
  • Have very little patience for people when I’m busy
  • Can be very blunt, often to the point of rudeness
  • Go ‘mad’ – think gnashing teeth and hair pulling – when the work load gets too much. Which is frequently
  • Fight the daily (loosing) battle of keeping many, many people happy

However, when I left university, I was none of those things. Well, in truth, I liked a beer, and was known to drop the odd swear word into conversation for effect, but nothing like my traits of today. I certainly wasn’t rude, mad or impatient. And I believe I managed to keep most of the people around me fairly happy without much effort at all. Thus keeping me happy in the process too.

So why the change in me? Well. Newspapers are a brilliant industry to work in, but media sales is a highly pressured job (which I know many jobs are), but add to this a hard-drinking culture (a quick way to de-stress), somewhere where saying ‘fuck’ every other word is totally acceptable (in fact, it’s weird if you don’t), where editors often lose their temper on an hourly basis (so it’s fine when you lose yours), where everything is time pressured (you have to get the newspaper written, designed and printed every single day, therefore you need answers, the right answers now), and where no matter how hard I try, clients will always want more from me, and the company will want more off me, be it my time or more money to hit targets, then you get an environment that breeds bad habits. Very bad habits. And if those habits become ingrained, then what are you? I am my job.


When I thought about it further, I realised that I’d let my job define me. In a really bad way. I’ve become a stereotype. And not a very nice one at that.

So on my journey home with You magazine, I wondered to myself, where was the kid at uni who just wanted to write great stories? Where was the person who was happy when they made other people happy? Where was the smiling girl who was laid back and relaxed, who liked to say yes to things, rather than a monster who was approaching the whole wide world with wry cynicism, a large glass of red and a pocketful ofΒ  ‘fuck you’s’?

I reckon she’s still in there somewhere. And, I never thought I’d say this, but thanks to that article in the Daily Mail, I’ve decided to have a bit of a rethink about myself. I don’t need to be those things that my job has inflicted on me, so I’m simply going to try and shed them and emerge happy in a new skin. Drink a bit less, swear a bit less. Try and think about how my tone of voice and behaviours affect others. And let my job just simply be my job. Not me. Because I can be whoever I choose to be, regardless of where I work.

And for my next career move, perhaps I’ll take a totally different path and write those stories, or simply do something that makes other people happy. Might make me a happier person too.

So. That’s my view anyway. As the Daily Mail so succinctly put it, your job should not define you. Should it?

The office worker is wearing a conservative business dress in appropriate colors with matching accessories. Her hair is arranged simply, and her hands are carefully manicured. She uses makeup with discretion.


30 thoughts on “Rule 10, Chapter 12: Your job should not define you

  1. I agree with your title and I think the subtlety in your work comes from who you are at the core. That person you want to be again never left you. She is right here in your poetry. I think your job is high stress because you put a lot of effort into it. I know from experience that people don’t make demands on you unless you’re really good at it. And I think having a job where you can swear all day (I have a potty mouth, too) is kind of cool, especially when you have to give so much. It should be fun watching you throw things all day. That said, be who makes you happy and be happy on your own terms. Best wishes. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your most lovely comment…it seems you know me quite well!!! The job is stressful and I probably do care to much – although throwing stuff has been a trait of mine throughout my life (I’m an only child which probably explains a lot!), but I’m still unsure if temper tantrums in the office are quite the way to go…! Thanks also for saying that there’s some of that girl left too. I just need to find a bit more of her I think. Thanks again Sabiscuit. You’re a truly wonderful person xx

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Good life = pleasure, fun, family. Excellent idea and something we should all bear in mind I think. All too easy to forget sometimes though. It’s like you need it stuck on the inside of your eyelids or something…!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Welcome to the “Been There Done That Club”. You qualify and I mean this sympathetically. It’s good to read that you had an epiphany around your role at work. Changes can be little ones or even itty-bitty ones – whatever you feel is needed to maintain equilibrium. My mantra was: what does it matter in a hundred years from now? It sounds like you are due for some self care. Really like your writing too. “Do what you love!”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment. I like your mantra very much indeed! And yes, made a few changes already at work, and actually feel a lot better for them. Thanks again – love the fact you like my writing too. Made me a happy girl this morning! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi there BB. Thanks for swinging by and leaving a like. I empathise with your statement ‘where is the girl who wanted to write great stories.’ Problem is most digital natives are hard wired from birth and seem unable to extricate their minds from the online culture. All is not lost, old age brings time to do the things you want. But you have to be quick to grab the opportunity.

    Spotted a typo. Losing not loosing. Sorry just my editorial anus taking over.

    Hope you have a good Christmas.


    1. Hi Talia, thanks for your comment. I was actually reading your cat poem as I’ve recently written one on the same topic – I guess no idea is a new idea as they say.
      And I find typos happen when you’re pouring, rather than proofing, and as this is one of several blogs I write, mistakes do occasionally slip through. To be honest, I usually leave the proof reading for work, rather than pleasure! Hope you have a wonderful Christmas too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi friend,
    Commenting 3 months later is not quite the right thing to do, and I hope that things are more clear and sorted now.
    The things you talked about comfort as well as scare me. They are comforting because they make me realize that I am not alone in this weird train of thoughts about work and scare me because no one probably gets those hidden answers πŸ˜€
    Yet, i completely agree with you that you are what you are, and not your job. That crazy girl full of creativity is still there, probably a little mad at you because of being ignored by this professional and passionate woman πŸ˜‰
    It is high time these two start to sing the same song together – after all, life is shorter than we think πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Prateek,
      Thanks for your note. I think commenting anytime is all fine, especially with such a wonderful sentiment! I believe writing this post has given me some perspective on things, and yes, it’s great to know you’re not alone when crazy thoughts are driving you, well, crazy! I’m trying to let that creative girlie out a bit more. It seems she’s easier to find these days, which can only be a good thing. You are so right with your last thought too. Life is short, and the older you get the quicker the days go. And with that song….the lyrics are all good – I just need to work on getting the harmonies just right πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You’re right about this and we’re all under pressure to be the person our work wants us to be. I had an example of this myself when i was told i don’t work fast enough. While i accept what they want i resent the message too. Does that make sense?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally. Who decides what’s fast enough anyway? It’s just hard when you spend such a lot of your time working. Often easy to get stuff out if perspective I think. Work to live not live to work and all that…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah. It’s all quite grim. I’m still hoping to have a long lost relative who just happens to be very wealthy leaving me something in the will that allows me not to work any more…!!

        Liked by 1 person

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