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Live to Work or Work to Live: Which Would You Choose?

By: Ryan Kidman


a group of middle aged people enjoying a vacation in the snow

It’s an eternal problem: whether we should suit our life and household to the demands our job dictates, or should we accommodate our job to the desired lifestyle?

People always put one’s life or work as their priority: they either live for a job, burn out, and then start again or they move from one job to another, satisfying their personal needs.

For some people, the nature of their job becomes the primary focus. It’s very typical for police officers or lawyers; the job doesn’t leave much space for them to enjoy life.

On the other hand, freelancers are notorious for holding temporary jobs that allow them to spend more time at home with their family and go out with their friends.

So, where’s the Golden mean? How can you find a balance, and what will change if you switch priorities? Let’s find out!

Live to Work Perspective

Some people are just born to be constantly busy. They are driven by a motivation to achieve higher results and jump onto a career ladder. If they find themselves without a career perspective, they need to rearrange things quickly to have a new goal.

The so-called “Type A” personality is somebody related to a workaholic lifestyle. Their work-life balances often suffer, because the people with strong “A” triggers don’t feel when it’s time to finish work and go home.

They swoop into a project without previous notice, willing to take control over the speed side of things.

Surely, putting one’s career first has plenty of advantages. It provides a sense of accomplishment and substantially increases your income, reducing the need for outside loans for living expenses. Money doesn’t solve all problems, but it can relieve financial pressure. And when you have steady income from work, you won’t need to apply to different companies to cover your rent or other needs. But even work income doesn’t guarantee good credit, so you might still need a loan. If you live in Canada, for example, you could apply to different companies for guaranteed approval loans for poor credit in Canada, ensuring that money will be available for any extra needs.

Although having money is highly motivating, it probably won’t make you happy to hold on to a good salary if you don’t like the job itself. A satisfying career, however, can be an adventure, causing less damage to your mental health. You may have more opportunities to travel for business purposes, expanding your network with useful connections.

On the down side, it also means you might be away from family and friends for quite some time.

Finally, living to work is good as a temporary step: if you want to show off your skills to get a promotion, or if you need money for an emergency. But you shouldn’t make this decision for the rest of your life.

Work to Live Concept

Working to live means obtaining the necessary resources to be a functional member of society. People, in this case, don’t pressure themselves to start a career at an early age; they carry on with expenses and sign up for part-time opportunities.

If the previous lifestyle was pretty straightforward, everyone has their thoughts about what “work to live” really means.

It may be about finding a perfect lifestyle and designing your career according to the rules you make. Or, about a “stay-at-home” mom, who travels the world and runs a successful Instagram blog.

Work to live may look differently: For example, you may keep staying at a low-paying part-time position, if your main priority is home; you want to raise kids in the neighborhood you know well and fear moving to another town.

Some people, on the contrary, prefer traveling around the world and taking on seasonal jobs, like planting trees.

Some people sign up for difficult jobs, that require hard work, but pay well — for example, they provide you enough money to spend a year away in Thailand.

One of the funniest (and yet, doable!) options is working at a fast food counter at a ski resort. You won’t believe it, but it can be somebody’s dream work. Since people chase different goals in life, not everyone wants to chase career accomplishments.

For someone, the concept of “work to live” means earning just enough to stick to the quiet suburban lifestyle.

Or be a “world citizen,” as they say.

Lessons Pandemic Taught Us

In previous years, the COVID-19 pandemic made most of us reconsider what a work-life balance looks like.

People started to notice things they didn’t see before: how valuable time spent with family can be; how to stay financially healthy when a COVID crisis comes; how important it is to stay healthy and not be required to quarantine for months; how needy we are; quickly we started to miss hugs and kisses.

People faced a real challenge: a serious illness no one knows medication for, and a prospect of death around the corner. They lost control over their lives and became attentive to the small pieces of happiness they could find in a social circle.

While we haven’t realized the long-term implications of the pandemic yet, the shifts toward a healthy work-life balance may become our modern way of life.

We hope the employers won’t miss an opportunity to care about workers’ mental and physical state and take steps to reinvent an office routine.

So, What Is It You Choose?

A lot has been said, but the choice is yours. As long as you feel comfortable living your best life, go on and don’t listen to other people.

Balancing professional and personal life seems impossible, yet it is doable. If you’re unhappy with the work you do, finding a proper balance may help you to get rid of the negative feelings.

Make sure you invest enough in yourself: explore your hidden potential and constantly look for the possibilities to grow.

We can only hope that people recognize the importance of healthy work-life stability; reaching that happy medium everyone aims for.

Probably, in the parallel reality, there’s one job fulfilling all of your desires and covering all your material needs. In the world we live in, though, the ambitions are endless, and people struggle to stick to the “zeitgeist” and find the perfect place to fit in.

Whatever you do, should bring you satisfaction and a piece of mind. Whatever you wish for, should motivate you to do better. So, the choice is yours to make: working to live, or living to work!

Published: October 12, 2022

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Ryan Kidman

Ryan Kidman is a startup-investor and serial entrepreneur. Founder of Catalyst For Business and contributor to search giants like Yahoo Finance, MSN. He is passionate about blogging and covering topics like big data, business intelligence, startups & entrepreneurship. Follow him on twitter: @ryankhgb

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