Fight Club's Tyler Durden Gives Free Career Advice

For those of us of a certain age, well, guys of a certain age anyway, the movie Fight Club is something of a cultural touchstone. Now I’ll be the first to admit- this movie is not for everyone. Any plot that revolves around a delusional, Sybil-like leader of an underground fight club where grown men beat each other to a bloody pulp is not for everyone. 


However, the main character Tyler had a lot of interesting things to say during his various rants.  One particular rant, I think, can be used as career advice/motivation:

You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your *&^%$# khakis.

How, you ask, does this apply to my job, my career search or my professional life in any meaningful way?

This way ~ too often we think of ourselves as our jobs, and in an economy this changing, this evolving that concept is self-limiting. Don’t limit yourself by considering yourself an insurance salesman, a dental assistant, or a retail manager. Think of yourself as a marketer, healthcare professional or leader. By changing how we define ourselves professionally, we allow other opportunities into our lives. You never know what you next job or career may be if you stay open.

There is also something to be said for breaking with the consumer culture, at least for a while. When you have your self-worth tied up in an expensive car payment you may pass on an otherwise interesting and personally fulfilling job opportunity, simply because it may not pay as well.

In the words of Tyler Durden, “Guys, what would you wish you’d done before you died?” Be open to the possibilities that come your way and you may be surprised what career doors open for you.