In what ways can occupation and employment affect identity?

Essay by theethnicUniversity, Bachelor's April 2004

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"My name is Ettan Bazil. I am unemployed and living on

social security benefit payments"

"My name is Ettan Bazil. I am a university student

studying for a degree in psychology"

Both of these statements apply to me and both are true. As I look at them, each statement brings forth a particular emotion within me. I am inclined to sway towards the second statement, that is the identity I wish to portray, but I may be perceived by others to fall solely within the first statement, which is also my work-based identity.

In this essay, we will look at how employment and our occupations affect our identities. I decided to start with the above statements, to evoke a snap judgement from the reader (for the purposes of this essay), to support the fact that the way we are seen by others is hugely affected by our occupation.

Work-based Identity is fluid and involves a certain amount of agency.

We can see this from looking at our own lives. But on the flip side of the above question, we also need to address the counter issue: "In what ways can our identities affect our occupation and employment prospects?" to be able to understand the issue fully. When we change our occupation, we change the way we are seen by the world. For instance, a recently documented fact is that many university graduates are turning their backs on the academic world and are training to be plumbers and builders. A recent illustration of this is Karl Gensberg. "He compared his wage slip with his plumber's and decided that his career in molecular biology, on an annual salary of £23,000, was over" .

Words that could be associated with a molecular biologist are: intelligence, dedication and high-standing. On the other hand, the...