Lexi Eddings
Lexi Eddings


Jaunty Post

Most women get this. We’re far more likely to define ourselves in terms of our relationships. We’re wives, mothers, daughters, and friends. Guys are apt to think of themselves first in terms of their careers–doctor, lawyer, digger of ditches. Whatever puts food on the table and a roof over the family’s collective heads. For better or worse, it seems to be how guys “keep score.”

BrianThis isn’t such a bad thing until you hit a patch of unemployment or the catastrophe that’s happened to my DH. You see, he’s RETIRED! After many years in the fast-paced world of travel IT, he even managed to swing an early release for good behavior and punched out several years before regular retirement age.

He was overjoyed at first. It was such a relief not to have to be anywhere or worry about this project or that customer or getting the quarterly reviews of his team done to HR’s specs. When Delta Airlines’ computer system went down a few weeks ago, he was so thankful not to be on call. The most challenging problem on his schedule is getting the grass mowed between rain showers.

But lately, he’s been getting a little…restless. He’s been looking at the local Help Wanted section of the classifieds. When he saw an ad for a part time position at our very tiny regional airport, he actually printed out his resume and took it down to City Hall. The man retired from Google. Before that he worked for a number of major airlines all over the country. He visited and worked with customers in England, Ireland, Germany, Denmark, and Japan. He did graduate work at Harvard, for Pete’s sake! Why would he want to answer the phone and keep the books at our teeny airport?

Because evidently he still needs a way to keep score.

He came back from City Hall a little less excited about the prospect. They’d expect him to be on site 5 days a week. Imagine that! His time is his own now. I think it sort of hit him that he’d be trading his life for dollars again, so even if he’s offered the job, I’m not sure he’d take it.

Maybe it would be enough to be asked.

Anyway, on this Labor Day, I just want to share that while all work is honorable and it is very necessary to find something productive to do with our time on this earth, we should not think of it as who we are. Our jobs don’t define us.

We put our mark on them.

I’ve held down a ton of different jobs before I discovered writing. What do you do? 



8 thoughts on “You Are NOT Your Job

  1. Lisa Hutson says:

    I am a “domestic goddess”. Lol I am one of those that takes care of the house and the peeps in it. Or out of it. And the animals. Ha I do find myself thinking that’s all I am sometimes. Even though I am the worst housekeeper on the planet. Ha ha
    Good luck to your husband. And you. It’s a double edged sword, isn’t it? That early retirement….

  2. Laney4 says:

    I have been fortunate to be in the “secretarial” field since high school (compared to today’s kids who can expect to be in at least seven different fields of work before retirement). I knew at 13 years of age that if I could type well, then I could type from home in order to stay home with my future children. A secretary can also be referred to as an administrative clerk, data input operator, clerk, and many other titles, so I’ve had experience in various companies, but always doing clerical work. In the insurance industry, my main job (other than the usual typing, filing, and answering of phones) was to keep the elderly owner happy by taking his dictation accurately. My first clerical job was taking money, directing them to stalls, getting coffee, and keeping the farmers happy at our local farmers’ market. I worked for two finance companies where not only did I write and type all the correspondence letters, but I got rooked into phoning overdue accounts and somehow managed to “get blood from a stone”, so they got me phoning more and more people who hadn’t paid in several months. From home, I have typed for various professionals, including authors (biographies, cookbooks, fiction, non-fiction), doctors/psychologists, therapists, etc., and am currently typing for a private investigator. I type resumes/CVs, cover letters, and reports for numerous individuals too. So … even though it’s the same job title, there has been a variety of things to do.

    Speaking of which, I have volunteered through the years (secretary of all school councils, local and regional badminton clubs, canvassing for charities, etc.). Perhaps your husband could choose an organization/organizations for which to volunteer, as then his time can still be his own (most of the time). My BIL helps out a local church (not HIS church) with repairing numerous things that their custodian just doesn’t have the time to do. My sis helps out the office staff there (as their daughter works there full-time), plus she drives cancer patients to appointments. There just might be something in your area that appeals to your husband. You can call your local library’s reference section or a volunteer bureau, if you have one, to see where help is needed – or he can scan the newspapers to see if there’s something that grabs his interest. Talk to other retired people in his field and find out what THEY do.

    My husband recently retired. He has coffee with the same people and then travels 20 minutes each way to visit his mother with Alzheimer’s almost every morning of the week (even though she is positive she’s never been married and never had kids). He bikes up to 50 miles a day several afternoons a week, with shorter rides in between. He helps a neighbour fix up his family cottage. When I don’t have paid work to do, we visit people or have people over.

    That being said, my husband had a terrible bike accident almost 2 weeks ago and broke his hip socket (and tore ligaments in his opposite shoulder), so he’s currently using a walker and painfully dragging his bad leg around. Doctors said he should be “back to normal” in 3 months and biking in 6 months (which means next spring due to snow). I am thankful I am home full-time so that I can help him. If I wasn’t here, he would have been at the hospital 2 weeks and rehab 2 more weeks minimum. By being home, he improves that much faster and is MUCH happier – all since the day after the accident.

  3. Sandi in OH says:

    My very first job was babysitting. At 16 I became a waitress for a local restaurant. I only did it one summer which was more than enough. Then I became a secretary first for a local state university, then for a real estate company, then a social service agency. The final position was for a transit authority. I retired from there ten years ago and never looked back. We travel a great deal, joined a camping club (I’m secretary, big surprise). I don’t miss working at all. Oh, and I read all the time.

  4. Annette Naish says:

    I believe part of the issue with men, our society values people but men especially, by what they do. After all a plumber could not be as important as a doctor. Of course, without plumbers, we would be up to our hips in great unpleasantness.

    I have had some wonderful jobs. Some that were not so wonderful. It was never the work that was bad, it was always the people for whom I worked. I think most of us feel better when we are doing something productive.

    I realize, it will probably never happen, but I wish we could get to a time when everyone who did a job, and did it well, would find satisfaction in that job. And even better, would be if other people provided admiration for what they did. Can’t you just see it now, the trash truck driving down your street, and everyone on the curb applauding? Cause that is a hard job to do.

  5. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

    Great post. I was a Hospital Discharge Planner, a Hospice Coordinator, an RN Case Manager and a Regional Consultant for a large insurance company.

  6. Julie-ann Ford says:

    I have had many different jobs. Secretary, jewelry sales, dental assistant, real estate agent, police officer (retired now) and mom.

  7. Shana Galen Shana Galen says:

    I see this with my dad. He’s not quite sure what to do with his retirement. I’m fortunate to have a job I would do regardless of whether I was paid. Most of the time I don’t think of myself as a writer and no one usually asks me what I do or where I work. They ask my husband this first thing.

  8. Eileen A-W says:

    I was a middle and high school math teacher for 37 years before I retired. Do I miss it? Yes and no. I miss being around the kids who want to learn. I don’t miss the amount of work I had to do and plan nor do I miss the students who I call the distractors. Those are the disruptive ones or the ones who don’t want to learn and cause distractions in the classroom. I don’t want to work 5 days a week anymore and fortunately, financially I don’t need to return to work. I meet with three different groups of retired teacher friends for lunch. We don’t usually talk about teaching and school when we are together. It’s like we are real people. Now that my kids are working in the real world I think they appreciate a lot more all that I did while they were growing up. I taught, came home became mom, sent dad/hubby off to work (he stayed home during the day) and single parented the evening until I got all four of them to bed. Then it was a return to teacher mode.

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