Professional identity and finding pride and happiness in your work.

Professional identity and finding pride and happiness in your work.


Titles and professional identity are an area I have wrestled with over the years. My confident and outspoken boss during my work experience year at University regularly marched up to strangers and announced her name and job title at the organisation we worked like a soldier responding to a drill sergeant and encouraged me to do the same. I come from a rural area where in spite of the fact that there is no number or name on my parents’ house, or even a name for the street that they live on, the post always arrives without fail. Everybody already knows who you are and nobody cares who you work for. So as a 20 year old, the notion of announcing my name and job title was completely alien to me and the thought of ever doing so gave me palpitations. Needless to say that year came and went without me ever responding to my boss’s encouragement. 

Like many of my recruiting colleagues I ‘ended up’ in recruitment, not by design but by accident. I wasn’t much a planner at that stage – I was either in the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time. It took me a long time to decide which of these categories the origins of my recruitment career belonged in. Even as recruitment unmistakably transitioned from ‘job I’m doing until I work out what I want to do when I grow up’ into ‘career’ I still had notions of doing something else. On international journeys I would write ‘PE teacher’ in the occupation section of immigration entry cards even though my entire PE career (after a 4 year degree and 1 year post grad.) had lasted exactly 3 days. At various other times, I would (in hindsight, probably illegally) write some other job title that I was aspiring to but doing absolutely nothing to realise.

As Rachel Dawes says to Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins “it’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you”. I wasn’t ashamed of what I did, but I wasn’t proud of it either. There were a percentage of my colleagues whose egos and intellect were inversely proportioned, and who had ethics and values I didn’t want to be associated with. In retrospect, they were a minority, but my insecurity and natural tendency towards negativity led me to believe that upon announcing my credentials, people would assume I was like them instead of like the silent majority (relatively silent – we are still talking about recruiters here) who just worked hard and did the right thing.

Then, gradually, with the benefit of experience and increased maturity, I started seeing the value and the good in what I do and in the people around me. I started realising that a job title, and peoples’ perceptions of me didn’t define me. In his book ‘Legacy’, a study of the culture of the All Blacks rugby team, James Kerr states “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” I started trying to bring that focus to my actions and behaviour at work – not trying to be what I perceived was expected of me, but bringing authenticity to way I went about my responsibilities.

Many great and famous people have made statements that differ in wording but ultimately convey the same message - the key to happiness lies in service (Mahatma Ghandi, St Francis of Assisi, JFK, Martin Luther King and Marie Osmond too apparently). Every week at work, usually on many occasions but certainly at least once, I get to say – “how can I help?” either to a candidate or hiring manager on the end of the phone, to a colleague in the Skout team or to a co-worker in the office. Every time a recruiter makes a placement somebody gets a job and a hiring manager gets a vacancy filled. I’m fortunate to see those two outcomes fulfilled by the regional team that I am a part of roughly 500 times a year, (and nearly 4,000 times by the greater ANZ team) We can draw great satisfaction from seeing the fruits of our endeavours so regularly.

I am fortunate to work alongside people who strive to do a good job, take pride in doing a good job, and are constantly looking for ways to do it better. They inspire me to do the same. Broadspectrum, one of our biggest clients, carry out work that means people can drive on well-maintained roads, turn on lights and cookers in their homes, make phone calls and watch Netflix, and bath in and drink clean water. There is nobility in this work and there is pride to be drawn from contributing to these efforts by finding the best people for the teams that deliver the work.

Be yourself<– bring authenticity to your role.

Take pride in what you do – find the value in what your job delivers and be proud of it.

Be of service – how can you help others in the course of your working day?

Do it better – challenge yourself to improve and take inspiration from the people around you./p>

Discover the Purpose – find meaning beyond the dollars. 


about the author

Author name - Someone at Skout

Someone at Skout is .......


  • 22/12/2017 Sandeep Hampalle
    I became follower it's really inspiriting a lot!!

Write a comment

Submit your comment