Confessions of a Workaholic Who Let Work Define Her

Confessions of a Workaholic Who Let Work Define Her

Kate Biol gets real about hustle culture and the realization of how self-love is worth more than job titles and paychecks.

We can’t help but be proud of working for a prestigious brand, be it a five-star hotel or a Fortune 500 international company. Working for a good company is something that we want to be identified with.

Work is a significant part of our everyday lives. It consumes eight or nine hours of our waking life then go home to only have about four hours or less of me-time which includes prepping for work the following day. Not counting the traffic you get stuck with en route to work and home.

When we are meeting someone for the first time, we usually ask where they work or what they do for a living. This common gesture may be harmless but it begs the question “Why do we have to be someone or something?” If this is a relationship, you are putting a label on your situationship. We are more than our job titles. We are “something” but at the same time, we are also “someone”.

If there is one thing that the pandemic has done us good is the adaptation of the work-life balance concept. Some companies offer a unique hybrid setup or flexible schedule to adjust to the new normal. Then there are some who want to spend more time with their families and opted for a WFH job.

Self-Worth > Career

When I got a job offer from a high-profile brand to work in a higher position. I knew I should take it as it will be for my own personal growth but a part of me was hesitant because I know my work is cut out for me. Despite all that, I left the comforts of my old company to go for the better offer. 

I was holding on to the company because of the status and privileges it comes with. I held on to the position because I loved how powerful and influential it feels like whenever I pulled some strings. There’s a certain rush and high to feel accepted and my existence to be recognized by influential people who used to ignore me.

The feeling feeds on my ego but eventually, I resigned because I was burned out. I no longer have the drive and enthusiasm that I used to have during my first month. I tried everything—weekly dinners and coffee with friends, tarot consultation, and even smudging and wearing crystals! I was desperate to keep the job for as long as I can.

My identity will be lost if I will not let go of the job that I superficially love and hate at the same time. I am an achiever and I want to leave a digital footprint as a personal success. I want to leave a legacy wherein people will remember me for my mark.

We were taught that success is measured by salary and job titles. But success is also measured if we have free time to watch Netflix and Disney+, have good mental and physical health, and most importantly, love what we do. Success is the rightful use (with conviction) of the hashtag #ILoveMyJob.

Eventually, it dawned on me that job titles don’t matter. I took off my rose-tinted glasses and opened my eyes. I just want a steady income to fund my lifestyle and not to be anxious about something I can’t control. I want a good seven or eight hours of sleep and to wake up without palpitations or with a heavy heart. Mental health is a priority, everything else comes second.

I know that I should not let my career define me because the only approval I need is my own.

Enmeshment Syndrome

When your job is a social media manager, you are walking on a very thin line between personal time and work. Social media is a means to escape or a quick respite from the monotony of your job. But when it becomes your job, you tend to bring it up within the first three minutes of a conversation. More often than not, it extends after your shift as you tend to get paranoid checking if the post went through or not.

There are days when I just want to deactivate my account to have a quiet space in my head. During the pandemic, our newsfeed would flood the latest number of COVID cases. Some people find it too much and became anxious. In my case, I focused on work and my side hustles so there is little space left to be anxious about. This ate up my own time and identity which led to zero space for hobbies. If you ask me what is my hobby, I will answer “I work during my free time.” #Moneyfesting #WorkIsLife

Enmeshment at work also evolves. When you work for a prestigious brand, you need to dress up according to how you want the people in the same circle to warmly accept us with their smiles of approval. Young executives would dress up in Gucci with a Louis Vuitton handbag that would make Megan Trainor look.

High-paying professions also give you a luxury lifestyle. The perks and benefits that come with the job also contribute to a person’s identity. Owning a spacious condo, getting invited to exclusive events, and rubbing elbows with the alta sa ciudads who enjoy a similar lifestyle. This may mean that you have arrived but the bills also arrive with maxed-out credit cards.

We sometimes forget that job status is just a part of our identity and forget ourselves if it is taken away from us. Not to put any pressure but we are measured by our net worth in society. Don’t let society define your value.

Society may dictate how to dress up in order to win clients and connect with influential people but they are not the ones who put food on our tables or pay our credit card bills. Act according to your pay grade but spend within your salary range. At the end of the day, your job is your source of income to pay your bills and it doesn’t define you. 

Carve Your Own Identity

Companies value the recommendations and performances of high-profile professionals. These successful personalities can take these wins as their proof of self-worth and validation. But this will come back and bite them on their asses when their careers take a nosedive or during retirement. 

Your job is what you do, not who you are as a person. Job and work might actually be two separate things. Separate who you are from what you actually do for a living. You are defined by your values, beliefs, principles, and as a person.

Always remember that there is always someone who is better than you at your job. You can be easily replaced. You may lose your job one day but you will still be you. You need to be more than your job title. Do not compromise your true self just to please other people.

Take time to grow from your passions. Your interests can make you happier and more creative at work. And in the process, it will bring purpose as to why you do what you do. A housekeeping attendant is not only a housekeeping attendant. She wears many hats such as a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend, and a mentor, to name a few.

Let’s take our cue from Celine Dion when she said Don’t make your career be your life. Let it be your passion. Let it bring you pleasure. But don’t let it become your identity. You are so much more valuable than that.

You have to look beyond your job title. Our self-love is worth more than our job titles and paychecks combined.