Who do you think of when you think of someone who achieved the “American Dream”? Is it someone who works a 9-to-5 job?
In America, a lot of self-worth is wrapped up in jobs: over half of employed Americans say they get their sense of identity from their careers.
However, it might finally be necessary to consider whether there is any merit to that age-old idea, especially as younger generations reconsider the significance of jobs when it comes to life satisfaction.
Author of the book “The Good Enough Job — Reclaiming Life From Work” Simone Stolzoff — along with a group of college students and a recent graduate — joined Detroit Today to discuss the current value of a career in relation to life fulfillment.
Listen: Does your job reflect your self-worth?
Simone Stolzoff is an author, designer and workplace expert who wrote “The Good Enough Job — Reclaiming Life From Work.” He says there are a variety of reasons why we shouldn’t center our lives around our work.
“In a work-centric existence, often our lives get shoved into the margins. But we’re more than just workers — we’re also citizens and neighbors and friends and parents and community members. And if we are only treating our job as our identity, it can neglect these other aspects of who we are,” says Stolzoff.
Nia Patterson is a Detroit songwriter and artist, as well as a business student at Wayne State University. She says she hopes to get her dream job.
“It would just allow you to feel like, ‘This is my dream job because I make money being able to do what I love and still have time to do what I love outside of it,’” says Patterson.
Gustavo Aburto Vazquez is a recent Michigan State University graduate and is about to start work at the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE). After getting his bachelor’s degree in engineering with the goal of making a high salary, Vasquez says he felt disillusioned with the available private sector jobs in his industry and decided to work in the public sector.
“Even though I could definitely get paid more in the private sector, I think this [is] a really great opportunity and it’s something that has soul, heart — I know that the people I’m working with also feel the same, which is also important to me,” says Vasquez.
Marissa Orrin is an engineering student at Lansing Community College. She says having a job that she likes while also being able to support herself is important, rather than the inverse.
“What’s most important is to love what I do eventually,” Orrin says.