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There are three components to identity: self-concept, social identity and paper identity.
Self concept is expressed when you fill out a series of "I am" statements. You think of yourself as a father, country club member, and banker.
Social identity is way others view you. People treat you differently if you're a bank manager or if you're starting a new e-business in a field they've never heard of. Think about how you feel when you're introduced at parties as, "This is Mary. She is a…"
Paper identity is way you're regarded by businesses and professionals you deal with. When you have a job, it is easy to get credit and a premium checking out. When you change careers, especially if you start your own business, you may be on shakier ground.
Your response to a new identity will be unique: "After being on my own, I went back to a corporate job. When we got United Way forms, it hit me. I was now an employee. It didn't feel good." Others will find same world liberating: "No more chasing after clients -- and I love pension contributions!"
I encourage career changers to include a plan for identity change, as a way to help smooth journey.
Cathy Goodwin is a career consultant who focuses on intuition and career freedom. She likes to work with mid-career professionals who are evaluating their futures. Email for her free ezine: firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her website: http://www.movinglady.com