Posted by: thaishin | November 7, 2008

An identity

  Work is an important part of our lives. We have been going to school since young and then to college to earn a degree or diploma. And then we go to work to earn the money to support ourselves and our family. We spend a tremendous part of our life preparing for the first job in our life and then another significant part of our life working to earn a living.  So much time and energy is consumed in the preparation and leading eventually to finding the work that we desire and then so much time and energy is poured into our work as we labour eight hours or more every day. So much so that work literally consumes us.

  It is thus not surprising to me that most people identify themselves with their work. When people ask them how they are, they will mention about their work. When they introduce themselves to new friends, they will say I work in … In modern society, social status is also associated with where a person works. It is because a good position brings good income and thus the finer things of life. I am also not surprised that work gives self worth to an individual. It makes a person feels good especially if he is successful or if he has completed a project successfully. I guess it is a natural thing that results when an individual spend so much time working.

  So the question is: Is your self-worth tied to your work? Do you have an identity besides being addressed as Dr So and So or Engineer So and so? What happens when you are retrenched? Or when your business fails? Or when you retire? Will you feel depressed? You might say that the next safety net will be your family when that happens but that might give you a sense of false security because by then you will be in a condition that is very personal.

  I learned it the hard way. I was out of job after a few years of obtaining my engineering degree and the opportunities offered by my degree has subsided, more so because my experience gained was not enough to see me through to another job. Yes there is a a need to retrain and re-skill. But more than that, I realised that my self worth was tied to my job. It was very natural. It was the hard way of finding out the truth. 

  Try some soul searching and ask if that is true of yourself. If yes, do something about it. 

  For me, it was a humbling experience to be out of job and can’t seem to find another job. It was after that experience that I can truly say now that my self worth is now not tied to my job. Hence, I can now look after my son full time and still be happy about. Ultimately, resting my hope on eternal perspective/Jesus helps me to pull myself out of the slum. It was a painful experience and I guess that it is only from hindsight that I can write what i write now.

1 Peter 3:15:

15But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, – niv

15But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: -kjv




  1. We are created to put God as the centre of our life & to glorify Him. After man sinned, work no longer is enjoyable and man’s greed to have more soon have no time & leave God out. We need to put God back to the centre of our life and all else is secondary.Work than will only be for our daily needs and we want do our best and use our talents and gifts to honour God. The joy of being God’s child is sufficient & do not need title or degree

  2. Agree that our self-worth should not be tied to our work, but to our Creator and what he has done for us on the Cross. We have faith that God takes care of us as His children, and this shapes the way we view life and work.

    “…the best course we can take is to use well what we have, to serve God with it, to do good with it, and take the comfort of it to ourselves and our families…,” read more of Matthew Henry’s commentary on Ecc 5:18-20 here:

    Actual Passage in KJV:;&version=9;

  3. thanks andy for your comments

  4. Try working for 20 years and got kidney failure as a retrenchment gift! I am still out of job. In my case, no degree will help. Depression sets in and life virtually sucks. Trying to make ends meet is like cutting a large tree with a pen knife! Fortunately for me and my family, I have many God’s “family members” at Church (JCC) that helped out. Life may not be as great as I want it to be but I am glad that I found God’s family and now I am one. Thank you, Lord for your blessings.

  5. thanks harry for your comments

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