Job Titles

Who are you? What do you do?

I'm a teacher. I'm a software engineer. I'm a founder. I'm a marketer. I'm a janitor. I'm a comedian.

It's how we introduce ourselves in many parts of the world. I am someone who does a very specific job. The subtext is that our identities are wrapped in the functions we perform, and (more importantly) what the world expects from those functions. Nobody says I'm a parent or I'm a birdwatcher (at least not at first).

We run into problems when our functions get questioned. Sometimes they're questioned by society (are you a writer if you haven't sold a book? are you a founder if your company is failing?), or by others (I think teaching should be done like this, and you do it like that).

It gets us worked up, even if we don't think we care about the function, because it's seen as an insight of our external perception. What will people think of me? Am I a fraud? Do I have value?

Of course you do have value, even if you're terrible at your job. Maybe next time we meet someone, we should be asking other questions. Maybe we should rethink what labels we need to define each other.
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