One of the great fears of people (especially men) when they consider leaving fulltime work is the prospect of “losing their identity”. The traditional work ethic has had a powerful influence on the way we think…and not just at work. It implies (wrongly I believe) that your work should be at the centre of who you are.
Your job may well express something of who you are…and the more you love it the greater that self-expression may be. If, however, your work is your only way of expressing your authentic self, you have a burnout problem building.
My core business statement has long been” when you lose yourself in an interest you love you find yourself”. It’s when the real you comes to life, you are at ease with your self, your mind alert, your self-esteem high and, put simply, you are enjoying being you. It’s a feeling you should often experience, including throughout your working life to keep your resilience levels high.
It’s the feeling you should be having every day after you leave the inhibitions of your working life and not just for fun. You are free to build the life you want around doing what you love, what you are good at and helping people who need your abilities.
So what might you say when asked ”And what do you do?” after you've quit fulltime work? An intriguing discussion-starter would be: “I was (e.g.) an accountant – now I am enjoying being (rediscovering?) the real me ”.
Your further reading should include my books "Enjoy Being You" and "The Hunger to Grow - How to Enjoy the Dessert Years of Your Life"