The Career

Do You Work to Live or Live to Work?

You're ambitious, hungry, driven. The question is - when the promotion comes, does it stop there? Or do you continue to live to work?

Ambition is a great thing. It’s the fire inside of us that pushes us to persevere and gives purpose to our lives. Having a goal that we’re striving for is often a great way of not ‘sweating the small stuff’ and remaining focused on the big picture. If you want to see ambition at its finest, just take a look at a new graduate.

New graduates are hungry, they’re passionate, they’re driven and they’re relentless. Have they ever used that super complicated system that your company uses? No, but they’ll sure as hell figure it out! They’re the perfect hires because although they may lack experience, they make up for it in eagerness to learn and genuine curiosity.

The problem?

In all their eagerness, they may find themselves taking on extra work, staying late, and biting off more than they can chew, either because they want to prove themselves or because they simply are excited to be in the permanent work force. Sometimes it’s not a choice – their employer requires them to put in the extra hours; it is an expectation. Everyone else does it, and if they want to keep up (and keep their jobs), they’re expected to put in the extra time.

Now, what happens next? Their work-life balance gets skewed, leaning for more work and less life. This can lead to a decrease in productivity as they work through lunches and cut back on social activities, it can lead to getting too emotionally invested in their work, and also, it leads them to identify with their job, which means: if they lost their job, they would lose themselves.

Toronto is a city with a lot of ambitious people who live to work. Your career is a sort of status symbol, and for some people, a measure of their worth. It is encouraged to put in countless hours of work for a promotion, but the question is – when the promotion comes, does it stop there? Or do you continue to live to work?

Some people love it. Their job is their hobby, and it fulfills their lives (and their wallets!). If you’re consciously living to work, and you feel happy, then that’s great. The problem is when you begin to feel drained, unmotivated, and uncaring. In this case, perhaps it’s a better idea to search for a job that may be less demanding or more flexible.

Working to live is for people who wouldn’t say that their career is the centre of their lives. They may enjoy their work and put in a good amount of effort, or they may just do their jobs and go home, but essentially, their focus and passion lies elsewhere. They work to make enough money to sustain their lifestyle, and when they leave the office at 5pm, they no longer think of work.

The whole point of this is to make you aware of the difference between working to live and living to work. There is no right or wrong answer, as long as you’re happy. However, whichever one is your preference, ensure that you still have a well-balanced life where you care for your health, wellness and loved ones.

We live in a society where we have to work, but we must choose to really live.

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