How do you see yourself in your professional life? Are you an employee? An entrepreneur? A shareholder?
I ruminated on this and found that for most of my life, I have seen myself as an extension of a larger organization. I have been either a student or an employee my whole life – a representative of an educational organization or a business.
I’ve never been a business owner, so I don’t know what it’s like to think of myself as an entrepreneur.
I own shares that have employed me, and I have paid to attend universities. Monetary entanglements in one or more directions hold me in a relationship with these organizations. I am entangled in a web of allegiances, past and present, but all of them lead back to some organization larger than me.
Some of it does have to do with immigration, I think. As an immigrant, my status in this country is based on my employment. The federal government would say that in spite of how I might feel, I am here primarily to be an employee of an American company. This is an important aspect of how I see myself. In this system, I think it becomes very difficult to see yourself in a purely individualistic light.
I try to put myself in other modes of thinking, just to see what it’s like. How would it feel to be a freelancer? Or to own a business and employ others? How would I see myself if I were making my way through life, doing odd jobs within my skillset, and primarily thinking of myself as an individual? I’m not entirely sure, actually. I’ve caught glimpses of it when I’ve been in between jobs, or I had graduated from one place and hadn’t yet started at another. It does feel very different. I wonder what it would be like to have that be the default.