A few days ago I was talking to a friend, who had moved down south to be closer to her family. I was checking to see if she was okay because I had heard news that Hurricane Matthew was not only ravaging certain areas in Haiti and Jamaica, but it was also making its way towards southern parts of the United States.

During our conversation, I could hear a tinge of sadness in her voice, and I asked, “Is everything ok?” She stated that her family was fine, and that her part of the town was not affected. However, she shared that she was not happy at her job, and related a few incidents she experienced. She felt alienated by her co-workers and couldn’t relate to her employer.

As a women empowerment activist, I hear similar statements from many women who face insurmountable challenges at their workplaces. I told her what I tell others, ‘You are not your job.”

Oftentimes, society determines our value and worth based on the job titles we hold. Certain jobs carry respect while others are looked down upon. Many people make the mistake of wrapping their entire identity on what they do between the hours of 9am-5pm, not fully understanding that they also have a personal life. When they lose their jobs, some people become not only dejected but also suicidal.

We often get asked the question by total strangers, “What do you do?” Our answer changes people’s attitudes towards us. It’s not their fault, we are guilty of doing the same. We don’t usually ask the question out of genuine interest or curiosity. We unintentionally estimate another person’s worth by his or her job title.

We must separate our identity from our jobs. Sometimes, the line of demarcation is somewhat blurry, but we must define those lines in order to maintain our well-being. Certain people may feel like they can’t relate to their co-workers; feel belittled by their employers; and/or, get little pay for the work they don’t love. They may feel like they’re in a never-ending rat race to pay the bills, the mortgage, and other financial obligations. If you’re on the same boat, don’t quit your job anytime soon. Unless you’re in a very detrimental environment, find another job. However, if you can handle the day-to-day work, stay and build your muscles of strength. Quitting is not in your DNA.

Below are some pieces of advice on how to maintain your peace and mind at your job.

Develop a work-life balance.

Again, we are not our jobs. We, as humans, are multi-dimensional, and have limitless potential. We are wonderfully and fearfully made. To limit ourselves to a job will only do us injustice and prevent us from realizing our purpose. We all have dreams and goals. What are your hobbies? What do you like to do for fun? Make time to do them. Hang out with friends. Visit your family. Go to the movies. Visit the park. Just don’t work 24/7.

Maintain a positive attitude.

When everyone else at work seems to be in a sour mood, try to maintain a positive attitude. Don’t let anyone move you from your center of peace and positivity.

Gain the skills and experience.

You may not like your job, but it offers you the opportunity to build the skills and experience you will need for your next career move.

Don’t take things personally.

Your boss and co-workers may say off-handed things to you, but don’t take it personally. It doesn’t reflect who you are as a person. You are not there to make friends. Besides getting a source of income, you are there to exercise your skills and gain experience. Never let anyone cause you to quit your job.

Create a second source of income.

Never rely on one source of income. Find ways to monetize on your hobbies, skills, and talents. Having another source of income will decrease the fear of losing your job.

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