Does your work define you?

Does your job title define you? Your role? Soon after I moved to the US many years ago, I’ve noticed this thing Americans do that seemed different to me: meeting people for the first time, even at a non-work related place or activity, people would ask me “what do you do?”.

I got used to it and never thought much about it again. Until I ran into this video:

That American youtubber loves Brazil, its culture and its people. In his point #9 on that video, “You’re not your work”, he made me think about the “what do you do?” question again. When asked, I used to think to myself: “well, I do a lot of things… what exactly does this person want to know?”.

What do you do for a living?” would be a more specific question. But that’s where the main difference lies: Brazilians, as pointed out by Tim, don’t define themselves by their job title.

I’m one of those fortunate people who do love their jobs, but I certainly don’t let my job title define myself. Doing so would be very limiting, I believe.

When people ask me that question nowadays, I tend to immediately break the ice by saying something like “well, it depends on the time of the day, or to whom you ask!”. Such response allows the conversation to go many different routes, opening up exploration paths that could lead to the creation of a better connection between the other person and me.

So, what defines you?

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