The danger we face in ‘Career Ball’ is becoming a workaholic. Particularly in a world that defines you by your career.
When people first meet you they’ll often ask, “So, what do you do?” (What do I do?! Many things…I’m a parent, lawyer, son, runner, reader, etc.) This is a hint they’re probably sizing you up by your job title, your income or who you work for. Given these common societal misconceptions, beware:
EMOTIONAL DANGER LURKS HERE.
If your job title is how you define yourself — and how you support your self-esteem — you could wind up spending excessive amounts of time on your career.
Judaism, however, does NOT define a person by their career. Rather, your personhood is showcased by several other factors:
How you behave morally (i.e., Are you kind, truthful, patient, generous, cheerful, warm, non-gossiping, not petty?, etc.).
How you spend your time (Do you spend adequate quality-time with your spouse, children, parents and also helping in your community?).
Do you make time to learn Torah and other Jewish works?
Judaism teaches that every person is created “in the image of God.” This awareness alone can create healthy self-esteem! All that being said, obviously one’s professional life is extremely important. And, if you’re lucky, you like the work that you do to support yourself. But, be careful that your career doesn’t monopolize your life/time at the expense of the other key areas.
The flip side of the coin is that sometimes your career does require extra attention because you haven’t invested the needed time.
A few suggestions:
• Ask the people you work with for hints on how to improve.
• Read articles, listen to podcasts or watch YouTube videos relating to your choice of career field.
• Take a class to expand your area of expertise or get further knowledge.
• Absorb a new language, a new skill-set, get certified in a new area.
• Think about how you can make a small upgrade. Take one small step. For example, shave off 30 minutes two days a week from your workday to spend time with your family, or volunteer with a charity, or to exercise outdoors.
• If your career is stagnating, use what we call the ‘One/One method:’ Ask your supervisor for a one-minute meeting where s/he could tell you one thing you did well — and one thing you can improve upon.