Seven years ago I lost my job. It wasn’t just any job; I was working for my church. The church my family had been involved in for 100 years. I lost not only my job; I also lost where I went to church; the support system of people I had shared my faith with; the place where I socialized and many friends. For various reasons, the members went to all different parishes. It was a lot to lose for one person. I lost the place, activities and people I would go to in times of trouble. But it was gone. Not only did I have to look for a new job but I had to find a new parish and start assembling faith sharing group.
Who am I?
However, I had lost my identity. I had been a Director of Religious Education (DRE) at Sacred Heart Parish in Lawrence, Massachusetts. I had a title that described what I did, what I believed and where I did it. If I was no longer the DRE at Sacred Heart, who was I? My skills didn’t seem to translate into the secular world.
What do I do?
The chances of repeating my role as a DRE in the Archdiocese of Boston didn’t looking promising as 80 parishes were closed at that time. I had tightly woven my identity, my job and my church. I had poured my heart and soul into the job and parish; it had become who I was. After it had been closed, I didn’t know who I was, where I belonged or what I wanted to do. People asked me what I kind of job I wanted but I didn’t know. I looked for something in a haystack but didn’t know what.
What I do.
After taking different jobs doing various tasks, I realized who I was. I was a people person. I enjoy helping people. Now when I think about who I am, I no longer think of myself as a particular title. I am happiest when I can help people get what they want; whether it’s a job, a skill, a connection or a listening ear. That is what I do best. Anything I can that uses this talent is my job.
Who I am.
I am someone who can help you. I am proud of my ability to assist people in their needs. Sometimes I am a career coach, other times I am an office assistant or daughter who will take her parents where they need to go. I am not just one thing. I enjoy being resourceful and capable. If need be, I will learn all I can to better help people out.
I attend a parish regularly and have made friends there, but not tied to that parish. I attend Mass at different churches. I have a support system that isn’t faith-based. I have made my job one of helping people find jobs. But I am open to other possibilities as they are made known rather than tying myself down to one identity. When the inevitable change comes, I will be able to adjust to meet the new challenges.
How are you defining yourself?
Arleen Bradley is has two certifications in career coaching and certification in the Job-Loss Recovery Program . She assists clients in moving beyond job loss grief in order to land dream jobs using the Job-Loss Recovery Program. The Job-Loss Recovery Program uses guided imagery to achieve results. To learn more about it and how you can benefit from it, log on to www.arleenbradley.com.