Today I want to talk about self-worth and attaching your identity to your job. In the current hustle-hard culture, this is pretty common. I think it’s also pretty common for high-achievers and doers who want to make an impact in the world.
I get it. I’m also a high-achiever, and I love accomplishing the next big thing.
But hear me out: as great as that is, you are so much more than that.
You are not your accomplishments, and you’re certainly not your job.
Today I want to share Jennifer Scheib’s Work Bigger Story with you.
In 2020, Jen experienced a layoff that was challenging and hurtful. But that layoff led to a big revelation, one that I think can serve all high-achievers and doers.
In this interview, Jen and I talk about:
- What she learned about herself after experiencing a layoff
- The importance of not tying your identity to your job and what to do instead
- The value of connecting with a community and how Work Bigger supported her in her journey
If you’ve experienced a layoff or you feel your identity is strongly tied to your job and your successes, I want you to read this Work Bigger Story.
Here’s how Jen turned a layoff into a moment to learn about herself and create new life-changing habits.
What was your goal in joining the Work Bigger Group Coaching membership?
To find my mission and do meaningful work that I enjoy!
What have you accomplished since joining the membership?
Through the coursework, I’ve gotten so much clarity about what I value and what’s important to me in my career. I felt more confident in my job search, and it helped me align with a company with shared values.
I’ve come to accept that my mission and career goals will always change along with life events. That used to frustrate me, but it doesn’t so much now — I lean on the Work Bigger material to realign!
I also love supporting and connecting with others in the community. Having other members’ perspectives has been invaluable when going through challenging times! There’s such a positive tone with the group, which makes it a rewarding and fun place. I’m grateful and proud to be a Work Bigger member!
Tell me about your mission!
My mission is to cultivate greater connection and kindness for myself, others, and the planet by communicating and supporting conscious, sustainable growth and well-being.
What challenges have you faced, and how have you overcome them?
I experienced a layoff that wasn’t a total surprise but still shocked me because I’d never experienced it before.
I had such mixed emotions: relief, shame. As someone who’s always prided herself on having a strong work ethic, I was angry that all the effort I poured into the job, the role, and the team was so quickly dismissed without even a short conversation. It hurt.
Even though I knew deep down that the environment wasn’t a fit for me, it was still tough to process. I still have moments where the hurt and anger creep in. The whole experience made me realize how much of my identity was wrapped up in work. It put me on a path to start the work of finding my worth outside of work achievements, which I’m still continuing to do.
Tell us more. What did this revelation lead to?
I have had a hard time asking for help. In meetings with my boss, I would always feel the need to have a positive, optimistic attitude even when I was totally stressed. I compared myself to others and had a hard time recognizing and celebrating small accomplishments because nothing ever seemed good enough.
What has helped me get out of the spiral is taking breaks in the day that pull me out of work: cooking lunch, going for a walk, breathing exercises, chatting with a friend. Or, I’ll have an activity after work that pulls me out of the deep, productive mode I’ve been in, like yoga, cooking, or social events.
I have a tendency to work hard and fast, but slowing down should be recognized and celebrated, as well. It’s part of the natural cycle of things.
I think we’ve been conditioned over time to always be on: growing, developing, doing more. That anything less is lazy. It’s a narrative and a mode we need to change. We need to re-balance and bring in more rest, reflection, and off-time.
What else is next for you?
I have a new job in professional development consulting with a small non-profit organization. I also got to lead my first Work Bigger session in January, and I’m excited to keep sharing more of my journey with the group!
Take time to reflect on the parts of your sense of self-worth that don’t just come from work. Whether you work for an organization or run your own business, make a list of the things you appreciate about yourself and notice what applies outside of your work life.