Work is full of problems to solve. When someone is responsible for solving something important (either to them or the company), it is *easily* classified as an “accomplishment”. I asked myself your question, and my work accomplishment seemed more worthy of telling people than the accomplishment of making some nice clothes for my children or growing a garden that actually feeds my family. Those are accomplishment, but I’d rather tell a person I wrote a manual for offshore helicopter safety rules in the Gulf of Mexico that was approved and adopted by a major company. I feel like that’s more unique than anything domestic…I feel like a stranger would find that more interesting than anything I have to say about my family. My family is personal. You have to know them like I do to appreciate the “accomplishments” we have. I feel like people don’t want to hear other people talk about their families. That is probably why. Even though I wrote that manual, I’m glad I’ve been working less and spending more time with my family. While I believe in my career as an industrial health and safety engineer, it doesn’t hold a candle to how much I care about my life with my family. Family brings me more joy. Work brings me random “accomplishments” that sound cool.

I think talking about family can be… too personal. Even though most of us love our families, there are very difficult and complex aspects to our loved ones that we find hard to share… It’s easier to talk about work, despite difficulties faced on the job.

.Though our families are intertwined in our lives, our work becomes attached to our identity. It makes us who we are as people, in so many ways. I think if we enjoy our work, or parts of it, we can never really forget the things we learned and accomplished from it.

The form of the question might be part of that. I’m proud of my kids- but they own those accomplishments. You asked for personal prides.

It might be the phrasing of the question — accomplishments or must proud of — that’s eliciting those responses. Would you get the same answers if you asked them their happiest memory or what gave them the most joy.

There is a quote along the lines of “no one on their death bed ever said they wished they spent more time at work”. They say family and friends are most important. I used to ask senior folks to tell me something about themselves that they accomplished or are proud of. I learned about a filing system a woman created at her office job. Lots of stories of classic garage projects becoming fast automobiles that lead to wild rides. One fellow traveled to do sales and service on copy machines back when they were the latest and greatest invention. (He had great stories). One woman left Germany on a ship, alone as a teen after WWII to start a new life in the USA. I often heard if their jobs. No one talked about their children, though I know they were important. It was always personal things they executed. Thoughts on this please.

Women especially are so often distilled down to “I married a successful man, raised his children, and kept a tidy home.”

Those things are all great, but… none of them are “us” and I’m sure no one intends to lose their own identity when they sign on to start a family.

I once sang at a college blues and folk event in a pub room and had led zeppelin in the audience. They’d just come back off a skandinavian tour. ( tried to blag their way in free too!