Sample Argumentative Essay on Your Work is Not Your Identity

Your Work is Not Your Identity

For most Americans, work is a huge part of their lives as it occupies most of their thoughts, time, and conversations. Since they spend most of their time working, most Americans identify themselves based on their work believing that work is their identity. What these people fail to understand is, they are not their work. Instead, work is simply a part of them. In this working culture, there is a need for an individual to set boundaries and develop clear mind-sets when it comes to identity, work, and life meaning. Letting work define us is not good, and people should keep their work in perspective and prevent it from dominating the sense of who they are.

Americans are making their lives all about work and this is making most of them miserable. Letting work determine one`s self-worth and full identity is called workism (Thompson 2). The workism belief inspires more and more work in almost every aspect of life. Losing oneself in work is one way through which work is making people miserable. People take up extra work and stay till late in their offices to either earn more or get benefits like promotions. Workism has the potential to cause depression as a person starts feeling like they are hardly doing enough. The risk in this is that people start to lose their sense of self without even realizing it. Workism makes people believe that they are what they do for their work and this leads to work obsession (Thompson 2). Stressing to get more work done every day could negatively impact on one`s mental health thus inhibiting them from reaching their goals. In reality, successful people possess a title that is different from that of work: father, friend, husband, and mentor.

Creating an identity away from work creates more meaning to life. Basing one`s life meaning on work is different from crafting meaning in work. A person can enjoy work fuelled by purpose without losing themselves in the process. The important thing here is to identify your personal purpose which will then drive your personal, work and family goals. Personal purpose helps an individual to focus on their core self (Thompson 2). A health identity can only be established by creating a balance between work and personal life. This balance is achieved when work adds meaning to one`s life and not being the meaning for life. For example, one should not neglect their health for the sake of a work project or their family for the sake of a new job. It is important to aim for personal and work fulfilment by adopting disciplined habits, self-reflection, and prioritization.

Working too much is underproductive. The current world is teaching people that the more the work, the more the achievements. However, the only outcome from this are individuals who are relentlessly positive, humor devoid and work-obsessed. People should meditate and exercise more so that they are ready for the next important client, deal or another task. We all have a productivity threshold. Human beings need sleep and overworking makes them less productive (Thompson 2). Enough sleep and learning how to separate personal life from work lead to productive work and a well-rounded life.

However, some individuals believe that work defines us. That we are our work and our work is our life. Russel Honore insists on this in his book, “Work is a blessing”. When growing up, Russel watched his grandfather and father work significantly and they insisted on the blessings that work brought. After joining the army and visiting Bangladesh, Russel recounts witnessing how hard people had to work to make a living. This made Russel believe that work is everything. Russel believes that people who do not work have poor health, are depressed, cause social unrest and are crime victims. Russel states that people have to work in order to have good homes, send kids to school, be proud of themselves and help the community. Even though Russel has retired from the army, he insists that he will never stop working. Russel is correct in saying that people should work to cater to their needs but he is wrong for making life all about work. Russel does not mention anything about personal life or relationships with friends and family. He makes it clear that all a person needs to survive is work. That this work is who this person is (Russel 162). Russel says that people who do not work are depressed but so are individuals who work too much. According to Russel people need to work all the time and as such, he leaves out the negative side that comes with letting work define us. Working all the time could disconnect individuals from their personal goals as their work goals are all they focus on. Russell does not address how important it is to have a personal life outside work. For instance, what happens when you lose your job? Or cannot work because of certain conditions? Does that then mean that your life has no meaning? This is why it is important to create a work and personal life balance.

The statement “You are not you work” is something most Americans need to understand. Making life all about work is causing mental health problems among people because they are either working too much or experiencing frustrations in their jobs. This explains why a balance between work and persona life is important as no damage is caused on the other. For instance, a person can be working the required hours and getting time to have enough sleep. One can also be doing well in their work tasks and projects while having a stable relationship with family and friends. If people concentrate on their work too much, they might lose their true personal identities. They will not be aware of who they are outside their work and sadly if they are not working, their lives have no meaning (Gragnano et al., .3). Productive work, job appreciations and company benefits are important but so are friendships, exercises, quality sleep, hobbies and self-actualization.

Unless people are willing to lose their identities to work, have minimal self-worth and not have personal relationships with others outside work, they should work towards keeping their work in perspective. Making life all about work is not good for anyone. Letting work dominate one`s life is also not okay as it could cause adverse effects on an individual if their work was to be taken away from them. People should understand the importance of having a meaningful life which can only be achieved by striking a balance between work and personal life.


Works Cited

Thompson, Derek. “Workism is making Americans miserable.” The Atlantic 24 (2019), (2).

Honore, Russel. “Work Is A Blessing.” NPR, NPR, 1 Mar. 2009,

Gragnano, A., Simbula, S., & Miglioretti, M. (2020). Work–Life Balance: Weighing the Importance of Work–Family and Work–Health Balance. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(3), 907.