For many people, a dream job is a far cry. The state of the economy has had people take on jobs outside of what they studied for in university or college. They are also taking jobs that don’t necessarily match their experience. For others, they’ve been unable to take on corporate jobs and forced to take on blue-collar jobs or gig work. This leads to job shaming because they associate work dignity with status.
Job shaming is when people humiliate or mock others who have taken “smaller” roles. Dr. Mark Goulston stated it comes from a place of envy and jealousy. They envy what someone used to have and are jealous because they are angry that someone had a great job. Shaming them gives them a sense of superiority. The schadenfreude from watching someone who was once successful having to take a humble role gives them a sense of satisfaction that manifests as job shaming.
In other instances, people associate certain jobs as low class. This is because of class prejudice. Low-income or low-level jobs aren’t worth any effort, and everyone’s goal should be to level up. It also perpetuates the capitalist belief that people who don’t have high-ranking jobs don’t deserve a good quality of life. They should aspire to get better jobs. And yet, manual labour is just as skilled as an office role.
How to overcome job shaming
It’s easy to internalise the rude comments made about how you’re trying to survive. Job shaming can lead to low self-esteem and negative feelings toward your job. Another problem with internalising shame is it causes you to shrink yourself. You can avoid seeking help from friends or professionals, and it can lead to isolation, anxiety, substance abuse, and self-harm.
Here are some ways to overcome job shaming.
1. Remember that you are not your job
A job is just something you do. It’s not who you are. Whether you do laundry to make ends meet or work as a manager, your job isn’t the essence of who you are. Your values and how you treat other people speak more to your humanity than your position. Even if you see people who put all their personality into their work, that’s them. If your education and job experience means you can only work a retail position, that’s not who you are.
Think of it this way: if you were to write a dating profile bio, are you more likely to sell yourself on your kindness, sense of adventure, love of animals, or how you’re a worker making ends meet? Many people are already in your position but don’t let it define their personality. Don’t beat yourself up for having a humble job. The converse also applies. Just because someone is a high-flying corporate type doesn’t mean they’re more hardworking, kind, or adventurous than you.
2. Talk with your loved ones
The people who love you for you will always be a source of comfort and insight. Contact your most trusted friends and family if you’re experiencing job shaming and it’s getting you down. They will help you regain some perspective and remind you that your innate value doesn’t come from your work.
3. Everything is a process
It may sound like a cliché, but trust the process. If you’re working towards a dream, keep at it. A low-income job isn’t always a setback to big dreams. When people shame you for it, that says more about their character than yours. You know the path you’re on.
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If your job shaming is internalised, you should constantly remind yourself that you are not your job.
When people try to job shame you, it may dent your self-esteem. It’s unlikely that others will change, but you can ensure their words just roll off your back. Affirmations can be done by saying positive words you believe when dressing in your mirror every morning or every evening when you journal. It can also be as simple as a status update on social media. This will make you feel more compassionate and confident toward yourself.
Read also: Using ‘Fake It Till You Make It’ To Achieve Self Confidence
Shaming can be destructive. It shouldn’t be given that power.
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