When someone asks you, "What do you do for a living?" what is your response? Do you st-st-stutter looking for an appropriate response that lies between a truth and a lie? Something along the lines of, "I'm still doing some soul searching, but I am keeping very busy doing X, Y, and Z." Or perhaps you are one of those fortunate individuals who have "found their calling" for lack of a better description. Eager and booming with pride to tell others how your job changes lives, makes you enjoy waking up in the morning, integrates passion with ingenuity. Or maybe you lie somewhere in the middle; a little unsure about when your next job prospect will immerge, but hopeful, yes very hopeful.
See the problem with this scenario is not the answer you give, but the question itself. "What do you do for a living?" This question seems simple to us, but does not imply that the sender wants to know what your job is. Frankly, they would be better asking, "What do you do from 9am-5pm?" (If you're lucky enough to have full-time hours and in this economy who are we kidding?) The prying individual wants to know what you do and what you do is not always correlated with what you make or what you work as.
When did our career start to define us? Why does a career have to be an all-encompassing title? Why all the pressure? What about all the things people outside their job? The lives they change in their daily interactions, their causes and concerns, their adventures vast and small, who they are as GOOD people? That matters too.
Don't get me wrong. A rewarding career is a goal worth pursuing. In fact, it can act as the catalyst to finding a "living." But the trap, if we should fall into it, is the belief that a career is the only way to lead a meaningful life. The only thing we should take pride in. Reality is, we must learn to find purpose outside our employers, outside the Marxist world. Find what you do; no better, who you are. And yes there is a difference.
Make a list of things you do each day that are individualistic and unique to you. Things that bring you and the ones around you joy. Who said pastimes and hobbies don't make up who you are? When did we start being ashamed to say that bring a painter, reader, a good friend are things we love to do? Because ask anyone and yes, these take energy too. So when the next person asks you, "What do you do for a living?" you can hit them with a bunch of things you do to make life incredible. To make your life incredible.
In which a career defines you, well I don't believe in that.