You are not your job

I watched The Fight Club again after several years and it was interesting that different aspects of the movie resonated with me this time than when I had first seen it. Probably because of where I am in my life right now vis-a-vis a decade ago.

There are a lot of gems in this well-scripted movie, but what stayed with me most was this piece of monologue from Brad Pitt:

You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your f*&%ing khakis.

Aren’t these, though, the things we identify our “selves” with the most? The brands, the paycheck, the number of rooms in a house, the front lawn, the backyard, the mortgage, the rent … but if these things don’t really matter then what does?

We judge people immediately by their titanium watches, their diamond earrings, their leather jackets. We nod our heads as they describe their professions. We “relate” with them when they talk about taxes, phone bills, and the rising cost of every consumable commodity. But do we ever look through to see the person they are?

Do we even look inward that way?

We let material things define us. Armani, Bebe, Gucci, Mercedes.

We let our jobs take over our lives.

We have no time for R&R and introspection because we’re so caught up in the “bling” of life.

We don’t look past the outer shell. We don’t seek answers. We don’t ask questions. We don’t think.

All we do is react.

We’ve let ourselves be shaped by things that don’t matter in the bigger scheme of life.  Some people find their “calling” but a majority don’t even know the answer to “Who are you?” anymore. Not for anyone else, but for oneself.

And perhaps, most of us are ok with that. Perhaps, that’s how society can function “normally.” When folks don’t go out on a limb seeking answers. When people operate like machinery. Like puppets saying the same things in different languages. Pining for the same material comforts. Fighting for the same limited resources. Lusting. Hoarding.

Dying with just the clothes on their backs.

I’ve realized in the last two years that what makes me happiest are the simplest things in life. Things money can’t buy. Things corruption and greed can’t touch. Things like the twinkle in a person’s eyes. A baby’s toothless smile. The smell of the earth when it rains. A croaking frog. A blooming bud. The silence of the hills. The calmness of a lake. A sunset. Writing.

Satisfaction, I have found, comes from within. Peace follows closely behind.

It’s true that I am able to roam the world and enjoy its people and its beauty only because of the paycheck that comes with a 9-5 job. That monthly deposit to my bank account allows me to do the things I really love. But should I let it define who I am and what my life should be? Shouldn’t I let what I love define what I do?

There are things we want, and then there are things we need. Sometimes we confuse between the two.

It’s tough to let go of the lifestyle one has become used to, but it isn’t hard to review and let go of things that truly don’t matter.

This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.

You can choose to continue living it the only way you think you know how. Or you can ask the hard questions of your self and discover a way you never knew. In the process you might just find out who you really are.

Also posted on Writers Rising.

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9 Comments

Filed under Personal

9 responses to “You are not your job

  1. Pingback: Professionalism matters | First Impressions

  2. Pingback: Professionalism matters « First Impressions

  3. misterjester

    Said like a saadhu, However in the Internet world, I think now you are what Google Says you are 😉

    On a serious note, yes the scary part of the whole thing to ponder over would be “This is your life and its ending one minute at a time”, however dont you think its a bit pessimistic ?

    Well you are not the materialistic possessions that you have, but you are also defined by them.

    • Appreciate your insights, Melvin.
      I just think that people get so caught up in the banalities of life that they start removing themselves from what really matters. Heck, how many people even sit down and ponder over the bigger picture aspects? I don’t see the “life ending one minute at a time” perspective as a pessimistic one, per se — in fact, I see it as a wake up call: to take life by the horns and live it more meaningfully!
      Thanks for visiting 🙂

  4. I guess its basic human tendency to categorize people into “slots/boxes” so that we know how to handle them..But when its comes to building a deeper relationship, I think most people go beyond the cover. Also, maturity also comes with age..Ur perspective in life changes with age and experiences..

    my 2 cents

    • Thanks for your insights, Sonali. I agree that some people put in time and effort when they care about forging deeper relationships, but we live in a day and age when we have more acquaintances than real friends; more fleeting online connections than meaningful real-life ones; more focus on superficiality than authenticity.

  5. I agree!! So many of us define our lives by what we have & what we do. Still others actually become what they do. Life is to short not to enjoy each & every moment & although sometimes we can’t find a job that matches our calling, we can still discover our calling. It’s ok if your job is just a means to an end as long as you find your true life’s purpose & do something to feed it.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Hugs,

    Bill

  6. you said it Mansi…absolutely true…

    We forget to live waiting for the moment when we will be truly happy. It is like running behind a mirage.

  7. I know who I am and what I am worth. Maybe that is why I feel comfortable in my life and my own skin. I do not pretend being someone else and do not let anyone or anything define me.

    However I so agree with you on this point. Many of people do not know who they are and are in the wrong path when they let things define them.

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