I have blogged a lot about personal branding, and depression in the job search.
I have said that when I lost my job I lost my identity. I used to be “Jason Alba the General Manager,” but when I became unemployed I was “Jason Alba the … I have no idea who I am.”
It might sound weird to someone who hasn’t gone through it. If you told me I would think that way I would have thought you were crazy.
Alas, that’s really what happened.
Perhaps our identity should not be so tied up in our job title, or position within a company. But it is. And you don’t realize it until it is taken away.
How does our brand impact this issue?
People ask what to put in the current title on LinkedIn if they are unemployed. I suggest they could put something like “Interested in ______,” “passionate about _______,” Experienced _________” where each of the blanks are job titles (or something similar).
I heard a speaker say a carpenter who loses his wood and hammer is still a carpenter. Isn’t that so true?
When we lose our title we feel like we can’t say we are that thing… but we are. Even though our temporary status changes, we are still that thing!
I was inspired to share this with you today after reading Donna Sweidan’s post: Finding Dignity, Finding Hope. Giving Job Seekers Permission to Reclaim their Professional Identity
In that post she talks about what Michael, someone from her workshop, wrote. It is very, very powerful. Please go check it out.
And remember, just because you lose sight of what your identity is does not mean you have lost your identity.
6 thoughts on “Finding Dignity, Finding Hope. Identifying Your Identity.”
I wrote a post on this very topic – “You are Not Your Job Title” – and posited what could happen if people did not think that way:
Might be an interesting read for those interested in exploring the topic.
I hope all is well with you.
Hi Jason, thanks for the post. I believe everyone should have a life goal. A life goal always make sure who you are and leads you to what you want to achieve. Even we lost our jobs, as long as we still have our life goal, we definitely still can write something on our Linkedin title.
The reason people lost because they don’t have life goals.
Megan, thank you – I wrote about this a while back also but I just didn’t look for it. I love your posts – they are always in-depth 🙂
I have been fortunate to not lose that identity so far, although I have had to take on other forms of employment while I continue my search as a Senior IT Project Manager. Thanks for reminding me to keep the faith… and the identity!
I totally relate to what you are saying about identity. It ties closely into an article I wrote for my blog a few weeks ago.
“Jason Alba the General Manager” is your job.
But “Jason Alba” is your career.
There’s a big difference.
Companies give us jobs/titles. But we build a career. That is our own personal brand.
It’s a tough spot to be in, but I think a lot of people can relate to what you are saying here.
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