I Am Not My Title

It’s been nearly a year since I graduated from my label of “College Student.” Shedding it…losing it…those are fair ways to describe how I feel about it too. After being out of school for only a few months, it was somewhat understandable that I was having what I called an Identity Trial. Four years I had spent in college, and many more before that in various levels of school, always introducing myself as a “student at ______.” Student. It’s what I knew. It had become who I was, and I was okay with that.

Until it wasn’t there anymore.

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Photo Credit: Flickr User matthew solle

For most of the past year I had a few titles I wore part-time due to various jobs. They were fine, but nothing I hung my identity on, nothing permanent enough to get overly attached to.

And then. A full-time job, an office with real walls and a window, and a title. One that will be printed on my business cards and gets added to the end of emails. A title that says, “This is what I do, this is who I work for.”

But I am somewhat reluctant to pull this title on fully. It is what I do, but it is not who I am.

Maybe this makes me a bad employee. It’s not that I dislike my title or my company; I’m quite honored to have a job, and I respect and appreciate who I work for and with. But I’m realizing I do not want my job to define me. I want to approach it as a shirt, one I wear proudly and well when the time is right, but not as skin. This job, this title, any job, any title, does not define who I am as a being.

Some blurring between what I do and who I am is inevitable, nor is it necessarily bad. Because of who I am, I will do the job differently than others would–who I am shapes how I do what I do.
I work at least 40 hours a week and come in contact with a variety of fascinating people, thoughts, and ideas–over time, these will in part shape who I am.

But they are not the same. Who I am remains separate from what I do.

When I was a student, I was fine letting that be both what I did and who I was. Things are different now though, and I am choosing to not be my title.

Til next time…

~Brianna!~

p.s. Does what you do define who you are? Why or why not?

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9 thoughts on “I Am Not My Title

  1. I like to think that Whose I am defines me… defined me from before the creation of the world. Chosen, saved, blessed. Thanks for sharing, Brianna!

  2. Bravo. I suspect you’re a better employee for NOT being defined by your title. To answer your question, I sure hope my professional title does not define me or at least I hope it does not define me through and through. Why? Well, for one thing because I have other titles–Disciple, Husband, Dad, Blogger, Creative, Writer, Artist, just to name a few…. Good post!

    1. I had the same thought, Chad–that perhaps not allowing my title to define me makes me a better person, which will ultimately make me a better employee. Thanks for reading!

  3. “I want to approach it as a shirt, one I wear proudly and well when the time is right, but not as skin.”
    Yes! Brianna, this is *such* a hard concept to grasp and I am so proud of you / happy for you that you are getting it so early in life. (Yes, I realize only 3 years separate us, but you know what I mean.) I’m still trying to pull myself out of the trouble that defining yourself by your titles can get you into. When you begin to define yourself by something temporary, you place yourself in too great a danger of losing part of yourself if that title is ever no longer applicable. To draw it back to your analogy, instead of losing a shirt, you lose an arm. And trust me, it is far easier to find another shirt than it is to grow another arm.
    As always, thanks for sharing. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Aubrey! It’s a lesson I’m sure I’ll need to continually learn the longer I work, but I figure it’s better to start myself on a good trajectory.

  4. LOVE the comparison of shirt & skin! I definitely received a similar revelation when transitioning from college to the working world, although I don’t think as gracefully as you seem to have 🙂 And it has been an ongoing revelation as God highlights certain things I keep wanting to find my identity in. Things that are temporary. I did learn early on that I am not my job. I have in fact always considered my job to be a part of my calling and ministry. Therefore, I try to work as unto the Lord. Excellent post and great points!!

    1. At times I’m learning it more gracefully than at others, that’s for sure. 🙂 We are all a work in progress. Thanks for stopping by, and I appreciate the reminder that a job is a calling and ministry as well.

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