Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Claiming our primary identity

I've had numerous conversations this past year with a friend about the challenge of identifying, and even justifying, one's status when unemployed.  My walking friend and I have commiserated about how in this society much of one's primary identity is connected to work.  It was a great pleasure to read in a book entitled "Your money or your life" by Vicky Robin and Joe Dominguez who challenge this tendency to link people's primary identity to employment.  They note "Our focus on money and materialism may have robbed us of the pride we can and should feel in who we are as people and the many ways we contribute to the well-being of others.  Our task now is to retrieve that birthright of knowing ourselves as human beings rather than as human doings or human earnings."  They further suggest "Breaking the link between work and money allows us to reclaim balance and sanity."

How refreshing it was to hear others suggesting that work no longer be the primary identifier of our lives.  It is a blessing when the things that we get paid to do also help us to earn a living wage.  However there are many other important, life giving roles that are not linked to wages e.g. those things we do in our roles as friends and family members, community volunteers, developing our creativity and interests, etc.  If we only recognize the value in ourselves by our time at paid work, then what credit do we give to the rest of our time when we're "unemployed" and not on the job?

If your interested in transforming your relationship with money and achieving financial independence, I would recommend a read of "Your MONEY or your LIFE".  To save a few bucks you might want to consider checking it out from the library ;-)

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