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Losing Your Job Without Losing Yourself

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Josh Broide

Josh Broide

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Losing a job is never a pleasant or easy or pleasant experience. A job plays a variety of different roles in our lives. Some of those roles are healthy; others are not.

Many people attempt to satisfy their need for self-fulfillment through their jobs, and look to their jobs to provide them with psychological nourishment and self-esteem. Often, a job is the essential way a person defines himself and his significance in the world. The loss of a job to such a person is exquisitely painful on an existential level.

But while a job can be a way of contributing great things to the community and the world, I caution against using one’s career as the principal way of defining oneself, of placing too much demand on a career—any career—when no career was ever intended to provide that kind of psychic nourishment and ego-gratification.

As Torah Jews, we have more fundamental ways of defining ourselves, and better ways to invest our emotional energy.

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