Well, I've been asked this a lot recently. It's a bit frustrating, right? That question being brought up in the first 10 minutes of meeting someone is quite frankly, the norm in San Francisco.
I guess a job can say a lot about you. If you're a carpenter, I'd assume you're fairly crafty. An accountant? Good with numbers. A lawyer? You can talk your way out of anything, buddy.
A lot of associations seem to tie back to your profession. It's natural. But when you start to associate yourself and your happiness with a profession, well...that's not good. And it happened to me.
Being a copywriter at my last job was an exciting time and moment in my career. I had the opportunity to write content for a variety of brands I loved with people I loved even more so. I used to take pride in in saying "I'm a writer" and that I "slay words for a living." I promise, I never really said the last part.
Doesn't sound half bad, right? Well, I soon began to connect being a "copywriter" to my own identity, my soul, and who I am as a person. And that's not really great. I came across this quote that really struck a cord with me.
"You are more than what you do. Your title should not confine you and your job should not define you."
The last several months, I have had to take a hard and realistic look at who I am as a person and what I want out life. For me, I hate feelings so this was tough. I had to admit to myself that for the first time in my life, I was in a pretty big funk. This is a hard realization when you're normally over the moon happy about everything.
I had to answer the question, "What do you do?" but instead of answering "copywriter" I said "Well, I don't know." It's a funny and awkward situation. Funny because you shouldn't live your life any way but with a little humor and awkward because it sure as hell is an awkward situation.
I've had to come to the hard realization that being a "writer" or "copywriter" isn't who I am. It's what I do. And hell, I love doing it. I may not be the best, but I do it with heart and passion – something I'm damn proud of doing.
In the time I answered "I don't know" to people, I've gained very valuable life lessons.
- Asking for help
- It's okay to get a solid cry out
- Free WiFi and cheap coffee is this city's unicorn
- People want to help
- Connections are everything
- Take advantage of friends who work at companies that offer free lunch
- It's totally okay to take two exercise classes in one day (I call this a stress reliever)
- Your friends will do anything for you (in all seriousness)
- Your family will similarly do anything for you
- You are stronger than you think
- This too shall pass
And while I've been a freelance copywriter for some time now, I have new found clarity and perspective on what I do and who I am – those two things not being connected.
Sure, I have hard days where I question everything I do, but I remind myself that I have a bigger purpose than just writing. My purpose is to live life unabashedly, with passion and a lot of happiness. To go "confidently in the direction of my dreams" and really, live the life I've imagined.