Diane Stafford: You Are More Than What You Do

By Diane Stafford
The Kansas City Star

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) After 44 years in The Kansas City Star’s newsroom, 22 of which she’s spent a bit of time each week paying attention to workplace issues, retiring columnist Diane Stafford shares a few thoughts on life, work and identity.

The Kansas City Star

Do what you love, but don’t let what you do define you.

Work, done well, can be hard. It can eat you up. It can throw work-life out of balance.

The best careers are carved from opportunities that provide a sense of equilibrium, that allow as much financial and workplace advancement as you crave, along with as much “life” as you desire.

Once, when interviewing a world-famous CEO, I asked him to share a few bits of career advice. His response began, “Well, I’ve never heard anybody on their deathbed say they wish they’d spent more time at the office.”

Sound food for thought.

In any career, there are moments when work-life decisions can be made. To that end, I’m retiring after 44 years in The Kansas City Star’s newsroom, 22 of which I’ve spent a bit of time each week paying attention to workplace issues.

In the very first careers column I wrote, I noted that work-oriented Americans typically have a first question they ask when they meet someone new: “What do you do?”

The answer tends to define you in others’ eyes. That’s fine to a point. It starts conversations. It can open doors.

But it shouldn’t define you.

In that first missive, published around Labor Day in 1995, I wrote:

“As the workaday world settles into its post-Labor Day routine, it’s a good time to take stock of what we call the workplace. … each of us might find value in some introspection. Do you like what you do? Do you like your job?”
The difference in those two questions “lies in the murky mire of workplace intangibles. It’s where words like ‘morale’ and ‘job satisfaction’ and ‘office politics’ get jumbled up with quantifiable measures like sales quotas and production rates.”

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *