How we feel about our work is one of those things that can really impact how we feel about ourselves.
Yes, our work lives are really important BUT we tend to confuse our self-worth with the success of our careers or even our success day-to-day.
No matter where you are on the spectrum of loving to despising your work, you need to know how to protect yourself from this trap of work = my worth.
Here are five pitfalls to avoid and one to hold close for more contentment and self-security.
Feedback from others
Have you travelled this path? Good feedback = I'm good; difficult, even harsh feedback = I'm crap.
You already know what I'm going to say!
Your self-worth does not come from what your supervisor says. Do not give them that power.
Take feedback for what it is - a chance to refine things and learn. Even if that learning is how to deal with someone toxic (sadly, a handy life lesson!).
Part-time, casual or full-time work
People work different time fractions for a variety of reasons, including available work contracts, parenting commitments, health concerns or having a side passion or business.
Sometimes it can feel like you are seen as less important as a part-time or casual employee. I understand!
It doesn't mean that YOU need to apologise or be small in your working life.
It doesn't mean that you have no rights and shouldn't have a fulfilling work life.
Don't mistake more hours for more worthy.
Unconscious bias and discrimination
One of the biggest reasons not to judge your work as your worth is that bias and discrimination in workplaces.
Whether it's due to gender, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity or some other reason, workplaces are not a level playing field.
If you are anything but a white middle class, able bodied, hetero male - I'm going to put it out there and say you will have been discriminated against, either consciously or unconsciously.
It sucks and is terribly unfair BUT is not a reason to stop being awesome or to hang up your boots.
It is a reason to actively work on separating your self worth from your work experiences (easier said than done on this one, but worth working at and being conscious of).
It's also a reason to gather support around you and tear the walls down together, bit by bit!
Your own judgements
What rules do you have in your mind about work and worth?
How do you judge others and yourself about work?
Does income = worth to you?
Does working with your hands versus knowledge work have different responses in your mind?
Notice your judgements of yourself and others. Are they really true? Are you trying to keep your ego safe by putting others down? Are you feeling bad because you lose in your comparisons?
Are these judgements improving your life? I'm going to take a wild guess and say, probably not!
When you can work through and let go of your own judgements, you wont attach to how others judge you nearly as much.
Remember: Humanity and dignity
You are precious and special and deserving no matter what, just for being alive.
You are entirely ordinary and extraordinarily complex.
We are all messy and imperfect and wonderful in our own way.
What you do for a living or for fun is just one aspect of a complex and wonderful you. Don't let it be what defines you.
Know yourself more deeply and trust that we are all equally human and divine.