Who are you at work? For what are you seen and valued?
Discover the strength of your PI
What is Professional Identity?
It is more than just a job title or qualification. It’s who you are in the workplace, not what you do. The “red thread” that runs through all your various roles, businesses, projects, etc. It’s the fingerprint you leave on anything that you do.
And why does it matter?
Employee engagement is at a record low, shockingly between 50-70% of people say they experience some kind of work related burnout. Workers who have a clear sense of professional identity are more motivated and have more energy because their work is an expression of self. Why? Below are some examples:
Waves of Change
In recent times organisations have been making unprecedented structural change. The “new normal” seems to be changing all the time, and we are stuck behind the curve.
Professional identity can make you more resilient and less resistant to change, like bamboo bowing in the wind.
Having a fixed job title and your own desk or office reinforces your identity at work. Members of modern, flexible agile teams in remote or hybrid office spaces do not have such reference points.
Professional identity is about refining your identity inside. Giving you back the power to define yourself outside.
When making a pitch, writing a resume or interviewing for a job, what do you say? Most people want to express what qualifies them for the job, and impress with their experience and knowledge.
Professional identity transmits the value you create, how you make a difference and how you affect people’s lives.
Our energy level is directly related to our self esteem. When things are going well we feel inflated. However setbacks and failures, especially in times of transition deplete our energy.
Having a clear sense of WHO you are and WHY you do what you do helps you to bounce back quicker.
“A worker’s self-image as jobholder and her ideal as to how her job should be done, can be a major incentive in itself”
“Identity and the Economics of Organisations”
Akerlof & Kranton
How Professional Identity is rooted in Self-Worth
In today’s turbulent world, the reference points that define self-esteem are often being swept away (job titles, clients, perks etc). In that changeable context, it makes double sense to anchor a career foundation firmly in the rich soil of self-worth. When our work life is an expression of self-worth, rather than yet another condition of self-esteem, we can survive and thrive in any environment.
You build a more impactful professional identity, because it’s focused on how to be of value, rather than just how valuable you are (self-esteem).
You communicate with more clarity and impact, as you are not just communicating to gain attention. You have collected examples of the value of your work, not just the ratings.
Other people can find you and even share your story – because they know what you stand for (vs. just standing for yourself). You stand for a choice of approach, not just their choice of you as the expert or supplier or manager.
Being anchored by deep roots, you can withstand setbacks – even the disappointments –because you remain loyal to yourself.
You have a consistency of approach that wins trust and credibility; you are not constantly changing direction or rolling back on commitments to other people.
You enjoy a sense of meaning and purpose, which makes work life sustainable and enjoyable.