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Any of y’all unlock the secret where you detach your self worth from your job?

There are a lot of layers here for me but the TL;DR version is I probably set way too high expectations for myself when the reality is I’m just average.

I don’t hate or love my job— it’s just a paycheck to me really, but I still struggle by letting feedback (even when it’s constructive) get to me.

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33 Comments

  1. The perception people have of you is probably better than you think. We know every shortcoming we have at work, but others only notice it in parts if at all unless it results in something significantly bad. If you are good enough at your job to keep it and the job pays well enough that’s all that matters. If it’s not start looking outside your current employer.

  2. No big secret.

    1. You should start with taking control over your emotional response to your job. **You** are not the role you occupy.

    2. When you get feedback, hopefully in a constructive manner, you **should not** take it as a personal attack but rather an opportunity to improve. Establish a dialogue with your boss to maintain optimal performance.

    3. Make the job work for you. If you are looking to do something as a career, learn what you can on the job while you collect a paycheck. Ask for the kind of work that will teach you something. Your future-self will thank you.

  3. I think it’s natural to take some sense of self-worth from work, particularly as I spend at least 40+ hours a week working. Maybe the issue is you expect perfection from yourself, and to make no mistakes; that’s not going to set you up to feel anything other than disappointed.

    If the reality is – as you say – that you are “average”, and you have been given constructive feedback to help develop your performance, then why not work on that feedback and then enjoy the benefits and/or increased self worth which stems from being better than “average”?

    Analyse the feedback you’ve received, once the heat has gone out of the situation. For each piece of feedback, ask yourself if you think it’s fair. If you think it is fair, act on it. I look on feedback as an opportunity to improve, and God knows I’ve had a lot of those in my career.

  4. A while back, I saw a video of some guys who lived in the Ivory Coast. They harvested cocoa beans for less than a dollar an hour. They lived in a shack made of mud, wood, and rocks. Yet they were very happy.

    The interviewer asked one if he knew what the beans he farmed was used for. All the farmer knew was white people ate it. He didn’t even know what chocolate was. The interviewer gave the farmer a chocolate bar and the farmer was ecstatic. He tried some and immediately went to share with his friends. They all loved it and asked to keep the wrapper to show their kids that they got to try chocolate made from the beans they harvest. They were even happier when the interviewer said he brought more chocolate so the kids could have some.

    After that, I couldn’t care less about my job. What’s the worst that could happen from my job? I get fired and have to get another one? If some guys doing back breaking labor for $5 a day can be happy, so can I. A stupid chocolate bar was worth half an entire day’s labor but those dudes were all smiles.

    EDIT: NPR link plus video

    https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/08/01/336919715/these-ivory-coast-cacao-farmers-had-never-tasted-chocolate

  5. I am often mistrustful of people who say they love what they do. Most of the time it comes across as self-motivational attention seeking. If you truly love what you do – then great, but I choose to live by this:

    I don’t love what I do, i love who i do it for

    And that means I love the financial security and benefits the job provides for my loved ones. That is why I get up every morning and get to work for.

  6. Find something you like to do that has nothing to do with money but makes you feel like you’re improving yourself. Could be exercise, watching documentaries, getting really into reading or cinema, gardening, cooking etc. Just something that feels a level above the minimal effort option, whatever that is for you.

    Because you’re not trying to make money, there’s no pressure to be good. And if it’s something you enjoy, you can enjoy feeling like you’re expanding yourself as a person.

  7. Your paycheck is the manifestation of your family’s social status. Every economic journal agrees that the only indicator of your future salary is your parent’s salary. Doctors raise more doctors. Engineers raise more engineers. Laborers raise more laborers. This is not a reflection of your worth. It is our economic system perpetuating itself in the only sustainable manner that it knows.

  8. Yep
    After a couple of different career paths and chasing bigger paychecks I found that the whole thing just made me depressed. Once I realized the entire system of expectations is just a never ending journey of more more more to no real end I finally realized it didn’t make sense. I don’t need a big house with rooms I never use, I don’t need the latest vehicle, phone, fashion, etc. Even after getting those things I personally didn’t gain any real happiness so I said forget it and started focusing more on what makes me truly happy. I make what I need to make as far as money goes, and the opinions and expectations of others don’t bother me anymore

  9. you dont have to love or hate your job and i understand it’s just a paycheck, for most of us it is, but you should still try to do a damn fine job. Honestly that goes for anything, if youre gonna do something do it well, and work is something that almost all of us have to do. And you’ll feel better about yourself too and you will also have a lot more leverage on your company. imma humble brag for a sec but im the top dog on my team at work and holy shit as long as i keep up those high expectations i can do whatever the fuck i want, wear whatever i want into the office and leave at random times unannounced. funny enough, working hard and being good at my job allowed me to work less hard and do less of my job lol

  10. Recognize you are more than a career path. There are other things in life that give it value. Cook a special meal for someone. Get a hobby where you make something tangible. There are lots of things out there that are more fulfilling than your day job probably that you can do in your spare time, and they will give you satisfaction as well

  11. Save money and find what you would like to do with your life instead of working at a job that drains you emotionally every day, I have been there, is not worth the high salary.

    You are likely to work until your 40s (if you are lucky) so try to find something that fullfills you and makes you passionate about living.

  12. My best advice is to have a goal and an end date – even if you don’t mean to leave once you get there. Remember that you are in control of everything you do, and no one can tell you what to do. If you are smart, save money, do your best, if they give you too much for too little – ask for more. If they don’t, then stick to the plan and find something better. Chances are, there’s a million more folks that could do your job, but, as corny as it might sound, only you can live your life. Be yourself, fuck the rest.

  13. Well to be honest in my opinion it should be in the equation of your self worth. Is it the only part of that equation? No. But it is definitely a part of it.

  14. **Train your awareness**. Just because something’s true (you botched a project/client’s demand/task or whatever) doesn’t mean that’s a full, honest, meaningful representation of who you are. It also helps with not lingering all day on this stuff… and it also helps with breaking down the negative self-talk loop that some people have

  15. I think it’s admirable that you set high expectations for yourself. Generally, someone who sets high expectations for themselves wants to be the best they possibly can be given their skills and abilities and is apt to accomplish more in life, whether on the job or elsewhere. Most of the hours in our life are spent either working or sleeping, so it seems natural and healthy that a portion of our self-worth be obtained from our job. It keeps us motivated to do our best, which feels good, regardless of the input your boss may be providing.

    I was a supervisor for many years and had great respect for those employees that took suggestions I gave them and worked hard to implement the suggestions to improve their work performance. People like that who put their heart into their job were noticed by people in other departments and were more apt to get other opportunities in the company. They were also more respected by coworkers in team meetings or meetings with other departments and their input was more seriously considered. Therefore, again I think it is healthy to have a portion of your self-worth from your job.

    With that said, there is probably greater value in having a more significant portion of your self-worth from how you treat other people. The mother of a friend of mine was in her 90s and had spent many years helping others. As a result, many people cared about her in her later years and so she benefited from helping people earlier when she was physically able to. I suspect she felt good about herself knowing that she did her best to help others.

    To summarize, I think getting some self-worth from your job is a good thing, but helping others is an even better place, whether that is helping others at your job, family or in your community. I encourage you to keep your expectations high, but find what may give you passion and joy and point some of your efforts in that direction.

  16. My dad tells a story of his friend who had a son that only loved to play hockey-it goes like this:

    Dad: what do you want to be when you grow up?

    Kid: Idk-but I know I like hockey. Could I be a pro hockey player?

    Dad: maybe. Only a very small number of people can become professionals in a sport. Most people who play sports never play professionally

    Kid: *visibly disappointed*

    Dad: HOWEVER-if playing hockey makes you happy-if you get a normal boring job that makes you enough money-you could have the resources to play hockey whenever you wanted!

    He’s shared this story with me several times whenever I’m bummed out about my job. All a job should be is a means to pay for things you *actually* care about (fun, hobbies, your family etc)

    It’s just a means for me to play hockey.

  17. It’s really a tough one. People need to have some identity & so many people have their identity tied up in what they do for a job.

    I’m trying to detach my identity from my work myself, for my & my family’s benefit. I’ve been a commercial diver for most of my adult life. I enjoy diving, but I don’t feel it’s healthy to have my sense of identity & self worth so intertwined in that.

  18. I find that interest outside of work help. When I have something to look forward to after a tough day, I end up forgetting about what I was upset about

  19. The real trick is to not go around wanting “self-worth”.

    There is no such thing as “self-worth”. It’s a marketing gimmick, designed to make you feel worthful or worthless based on your consumerist habits.

    People who have fallen for this gimmick will think I’m saying you should “get your self-worth” from internal things, not realizing that this is part of the problem.

    There is no such thing as “worth”, and certainly no such thing as “self-worth” (and Buddhists would argue there’s no such thing as “self” either). You could search every picometer of the universe and the space between and inside every atom and not find this thing we call “worth”. It’s a fake. It doesn’t need to come from inside or outside – it doesn’t need to be believed in at all, and a huge number of problems simply vanish when you stop believing in it, the one you have included.

  20. Yeah I’ve been unemployed for over a year. It was hard at first when I got laid off, but now it’s easy. I’m not who I work or don’t work for. I’m not my past job or my future job. I’m just me. I’m a husband and father first and always will be. I know my family loves me no matter what and that means more to me than anything else in the world.

  21. I’ve always hated every job I’ve ever had. I don’t care about my job, and put no worth in it. I have never understood having pride in any job. They all suck and are not worth the space in your brain.

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