Work Defines You, So Work It

Recently a woman who owned her own PR firm called it quits. The economy had impacted her business and she made the hard decision to close her company and ‘retire’…or at least drop out of the so-called race of the rats, and have the time to enjoy life. As she told me she was getting out of the workplace, tears welled up in her eyes and rolled down her cheeks. Her business had not only dominated her life, it defined who she was. She understood that soon she’d be invisible in the business world. Gone. Basically her life was her work; it defined her.

Clearly we spend most of our time Mondays through Fridays at work. Work is fulfilling and provides us with both a lifestyle and an identity. We meet people through work. Develop friendships through work. Network at work related functions, which expands our circle of friends. Ponder this: How many of your friends did you not meet through work?

Work defines us. It determines our identity – who we are – it provides our visibility and gives us an opportunity to advance up the proverbial corporate ladder. Work is a personal brand builder. And it impacts our health. Research reports it keeps our brains from shrinking; it keeps us young.

Several years ago we added a JOBS&MONEY section to TCW. In every issue, this section provides practical career-related advice from those who have achieved success in their profession. It’s our most popular section of the magazine. And I’m happy to report that in the Chicago area, there’s a wealth of executive and entrepreneurial women – and men – who regularly share their thoughts with TCW readers.

After 30 years, could or should I think of retiring? It’s something I occasionally consider, but to actually do it? Not yet. Exit strategy? Maybe think of it next year. Meanwhile, I plan to make the most of every work hour, provide creative input at work, build the TCW brand, listen to reader feedback and continue to insure that TCW a must-read for working women.


About Sherren Leigh

Sherren Leigh is president and founder of Today's Chicago Woman and Today's Chicago Woman Foundation. She muses about life - the good, the bad, the ugly - and anything else that's on her mind in “Girl Talk.” Sometimes funny, other times serious, she's always thought-provoking and often controversial.