Monday, July 26, 2010

A Butcher, A Baker, A Candlestick Maker?

I was recently in Rockville, MD, for some face-time with my employers and co-workers. All satellite employees come in for a week of team-building, meetings and the company picnic. Unable to take my lack of enthusiasm any longer, my dear friend, Arlene, told me to buck up and I tried my best.

One of the team-building exercises entailed sitting with a co-worker for 10 minutes and talking about our lives outside of work. (We switched off three times.) I faced a long-standing dilemma: do I reveal I’m a writer and just finished a book, or do I pick something else out of my life to share? I went the authentic route. The absolute biggest thing in my life now is my writing and I said so. My co-workers were genuinely interested and supportive.

I’ve had a chip on my shoulder about revealing this part of my life because I haven’t published and I have no idea if/when that will happen. But I’m a writer NOW, each and every day. It’s what I do and who I am.

The exercise also opened my mind to who my co-workers are beyond their roles at Goodwill. An expert quilter, a weekend sailor, a baker. It’s taken me 20 years to recognize that our work doesn’t define us completely.

How do you define yourself? Has it been a struggle to share your deepest passions with others?


  1. And what *is* work? Am I defined by the work that takes up most of my time or the work that reveals my passions? I'm thinking about this sort of thing a lot lately....

  2. When you meet someone for the first time, they usually ask what you do. I've never liked answering this question but I have certainly asked it a lot! It's good to keep in mind that most everyone is defined in so many ways other than work, ways that are revealed only through time and in-depth conversation. For many of us, work is just a means to an end. Profession versus job, there's a lot to consider. Thanks for the post, Mandy.