- Someday Lesson: You are not your job.
Not so in Spain. Even the question “What do you do?” doesn’t translate. “¿Qué haces?” elicits a blank stare and the answer of “Um, talking to you (you idiot).”
With most of my friends it took me several months of knowing them before I found out what they did for work. To many Spaniards – especially to the mileuristas (the overeducated/underemployed 20- and 30-somethings) – a job is just what you do so that you can enjoy life. You don’t have to love it or derive a sense of self-worth from it. You just hope that you don’t hate it.
The Spanish way of asking about work (¿En qué te dedicas?) is: “In what do you dedicate yourself?” People then usually answer two things: what they get paid to do and what they do outside of work.
For example, my answer is that I teach English, but that I’m a writer. Everyone skips over the teaching part and jumps to the writing – the much more interesting part of my life.
This attitude helps me realize that I don’t need to be earning money from my passions (at least not right away). As long as I have a non-loathsome job that pays the bills and gives me time to pursue my passions, I’m a happy camper.
So, how about you? Do you define yourself by your job? In what do you dedicate yourself?