been thinking a lot lately about ‘careers’ and identity. We’ve all been told
for most of our lives that work and identity are essentially synonyms. It’s
evident in how we talk about careers. We ask children, “What do you want to be
when you grow up?” Which is very different from, “What kind of work would you like
most of my life, I didn’t think I attached much of my identity to my job. After
all, it was just a job. I worked hard, did excellent work, and remained
employed, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t who I was as a person, it was
just what I did.
that I can’t do it anymore, I’ve realized how wrong I was.
took pride in my work. The quality of it, the hours I would devote to getting
things done right, I wanted respect and acknowledgement from my peers. As the
industry changed, I changed along with it. I had to adjust to new metrics of
success, and I worked at them until I achieved them.
never got the things I really wanted. I think I became bogged down in being a
productive drone. After all, that used to be a respectable quality. I thought
service and devotion to an industry would get me there.
I have to change my paradigm again, and find myself without any sort of map.
ask professional athletes and others who aim high, about their backup plans. We
need to start thinking about those things for everyone. No matter what kind of
work you do, regardless of industry.
presented with a narrative about automation replacing human workers in
production jobs, but that’s not the only place that happens. As I was
explaining to someone exactly what I used to do ten years ago, I realized I had
been replaced by a combination of a machine, apathy, and transferring the
burden of quality on to the customer. Over the years I’ve worked in the arts,
several jobs I’ve had have been replaced by machines.
body is failing me. I know, it happens to all of us. For me, it has happened at
an intense speed, in ways I never could have imagined, and targeting things
that are most important to me.
don’t know what I ‘do’ anymore, which has left me questioning who I am. This
isn’t another instance of technology or priorities changing how I approach the
industry within which I work, it’s starting over. I don’t have a backup plan, I
didn’t think I needed one.