Researchers have confirmed something about human behavior that we already know instinctively; it’s not our fault, it’s just math. When we spend more than half of our waking hours at work, it’s bound to happen.
People tend to define themselves, and to be socially defined, by their work.1
It’s why at social gatherings, when we are meeting others for the first time, talk often turns to inquiries about one’s occupation. We’re not asking, “So what do you do?” as much as we are asking, “How do I define you, so I can process and categorize you in relation to all the other human beings I know?” We have a natural, even subconscious preoccupation to want to define ourselves and others within a work context.
The problem ...