Through my job as a journalist I meet an awful lot of new people on a regular basis and, I like to think, it has made me somewhat of an expert when it comes to small talk.
You know exactly the sort of chat I mean, that’s reserved for people you’ve only just met; how do you know so-and-so? Where do you live?
And the most ubiquitous of all: what do you do?
The last one is a strange question if you think about it. I ‘do’ lots of things, I cycle, I read, I write, I go to the cinema.
Of course, we all know the question means ‘where do you work’ but why do we equate going to work with the essence of who we are and what we do.
In this ever-connected world, work is ever present. Our bosses can contact us wherever we are, we can catch-up with our colleagues at the touch of a button, we never have to be far from work thanks to technology.
But just because we can make work our entire lives it doesn’t mean we should.
I love my job, being a journalist is the only thing I wanted to do and I define myself as ‘a journalist’ because I do let work take up most of my life.
However, I don’t think that’s a healthy attitude to work – no matter how much I enjoy my job – because it doesn’t leave enough room for people I care about, for enjoying myself, travelling and myriad other things that make me happy.
Work is important, it’s the thing we do that means we can put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads, but I need to gain some perspective on where it fits in my life.
I am not my job.