You’re Not Essential

We are taught to define ourselves by a few important factors. One of those defining factors, is our career. Your job. What we do for nearly 40–50 hours a week. A huge chunk of our weeks, months, and years. It makes up our routine. Our schedule. It’s what we base the rest of our life around. When can you go on vacation? Schedule a doctors appointment? Attend your child’s after school science fair? Have lunch with a relative that’s visiting? Or just take a day off? Not sure, let me check with work.

Our entire lives revolve around this “thing” that once we lose we are told to not let define who we are as people. Did I truly define myself as someone’s right hand, being their nearly personal assistant? No. Did I create skills and experiences that would make me an asset for a future role? Yes. When we lose a job, whether fired or laid off, furloughed or quit, the same slue of questions begin to arise. Why wasn’t I good enough? How could I have done better? Different? How will I get a new job? What about my finances? …

When the pandemic hit thousands of us had the same questions. And had much of the same conversations with our employers. You are not deemed essential, we have to let you go. The job, that 5 of my 7 days revolved around, is not essential enough? The strict schedule I had to follow to make a train to make a subway to get into the office early, to make your coffee, is not essential? Or not anymore? It’s confusing to understand. And somewhat of a hard pill to swallow. It feels more like a boulder to swallow, when you realize your day to day life is no longer. Now it’s starting over. From square one. Figuring it out. Trying to realize you were good enough for them, just not for a global pandemic.

But with all the free time, you begin to ponder what it is you’d like to see your life become. Maybe that job wasn’t fulfilling. It definitely didn’t pay enough. How can you take the silver-lining in something so terrible, and make it a positive for yourself? How can you make your career essential, so you’re never here again? We are told not to define ourselves by what we do 40 hours a week, but then what does? What defines you? And how can you translate that into a career that will never wake up and leave your side? Holding a job doesn’t make you essential. Being able to wake up every day and breathe, does. It’s a weird time right now, that is for certain. But don’t let the thoughts run wild. Define your essential, and let your job come second.



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