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Should You Let Your Career Define You? [The Digital Careerist]

By Adam Britten, Social Media Manager for 16 Handles, blogger for The Digital Careerist, Hult Alumni – Class of 2012.

Sunday night, I received a very reassuring email from my boss. She said “Adam, I don’t expect you to answer emails on weekends” after I had sent her a file that evening. This was nice to read, as I like to let my weekends be my own personal time, but I sometimes feel guilty when I arrive at the office on Monday morning and someone says “did you see my email?” and I have to answer “not yet.” But this email from my boss reminded me that my weekends ARE my own, and that my life is more than my job.

I feel like many of my peers are letting their careers define them. And if you asked many of my “distant friends” (those friends from college who you are still connected to on Facebook, but who you haven’t seen in person in at least a year for whatever reason) they’d probably describe me as “that social media guy.” As much as I take pride in the fact that my friends, former classmates, and colleagues come to me when they have a question about how to run the Twitter account for the company they work for, or how to ask for a recommendation on LinkedIn, I worry that this is the only thing they remember me as. (Ok, they might also remember me as the guy who was way too obsessed with theme parks and Pixar movies.)

But I want my peers to think of me as a more multidimensional person. When I think about my group of friends from college, there are a few that I only know as “the guy who works at JPMorgan” or “that girl in law school” because they are completely focused on their carers, almost to a fault. I’m sure their parents are proud of those titles, but I’m far more impressed by my friend who I summarize as “the girl who works in production at Macy’s who is teaching herself violin” or my other friend who is “an operations manager at a theatre festival who I run into at SoulCycle all the time.”

So yesterday I thought a lot  about what I want my friends to define me as. No, I thought about what I want to define MYSELF as. I don’t want my personal elevator pitch to simply be “I work in social media.” I want it to reflect a complete person, and not just an office job. If I had my way, people would know me as:

  • An athlete
  • An adventurer
  • An academic

And I’m working towards these characteristics by…

Republished from The Digital Careerist, continue reading the article in full here.

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