Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Don’t Ask Me What I Do, Instead Ask Me Who I Am

I recently posted this piece on PsychCentral about the need to separate what we do for a living from who we are as people. To read the article, click here.

I carry a few different business cards in my purse. Because I never know what conversation I will have with a stranger at any given time.

A month ago I fetched cream for my coffee at a café in South Bend, Indiana. Naturally my family didn’t know a soul in the joint. However, by the time I returned to my table, I knew some incredibly intimate (not to mention interesting) details about the daughter of the man next to me who was reaching for a napkin: his daughter is bipolar; she was anorexic as a teenage ballerina; and she’s on some of the same meds as I am.


I ended up giving him a business card with everything but my email scratched out.

I didn’t want to have the conversation of what I do for living.

It doesn’t have anything to do with who I am.

And that’s why I get so annoyed that we have to start all of our conversations with that question.

Click here to continue reading.

Artwork by Anya Getter.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment William Van Howe

    Great article. I too have struggled with this being thought of as the main part of my identity. Although I liked some (not many) of the jobs I had I never felt they defined me. At 62 years of age I am finally at a spot where this doesn’t bother me, much, anymore.

    I also have thought recently,”when did the importance of jobs and money supplant the importance of the human soul?” Then I quickly thought of Jesus turning over the tables of money in the temple.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Larry Parker


    I much appreciate the sentiment of the piece, but don’t forget (at least in American culture) there’s a gender aspect to this as well.

    When I’ve been sick and unable to work in the past, it’s driven my depression down further. Conversely, since I have had an extended period of good health the last few years and been able to rebuild a (sort of) career, that fact alone has been a boost to my self-esteem. (Occasionally going to the hypomanic side, but in general a healthy boost.)

    Not noble, but reality. And I’m sure for a lot of other (American, at least) guys as well.

Previous Posts

Seven Ways to Get Over an Infatuation
“Bewitched, bothered, and bewildered am I” wrote US songwriter Lorenz Hart about the feeling of infatuation. It’s blissful and euphoric, as we all know. But it’s also addicting, messy and blinding. Without careful monitoring, its wild ...

posted 12:46:43pm Feb. 19, 2014 | read full post »

When Faith Turns Neurotic
When does reciting scripture become a symptom of neurosis? Or praying the rosary an unhealthy compulsion? Not until I had the Book of Psalms practically memorized as a young girl did I learn that words and acts of faith can morph into desperate ...

posted 10:37:13am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

How to Handle Negative People
One of my mom’s best pieces of advice: “Hang with the winners.” This holds true in support groups (stick with the people who have the most sobriety), in college (find the peeps with good study habits), and in your workplace (stay away from ...

posted 10:32:10am Jan. 14, 2014 | read full post »

8 Coping Strategies for the Holidays
For people prone to depression and anxiety – i.e. human beings – the holidays invite countless possibility to get sucked into negative and catastrophic thinking. You take the basic stressed-out individual and you increase her to-do list by a ...

posted 9:30:12am Nov. 21, 2013 | read full post »

Can I Say I’m a Son or Daughter of Christ and Suffer From Depression?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we read: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” What if we aren’t glad, we aren’t capable of rejoicing, and even prayer ...

posted 10:56:04am Oct. 29, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.