“work to live” I heard them say
I never really knew what to make of that. I understand the idea: that work is merely the means to do the things you really enjoy– and if you’re not sure what you want to do, then go out and discover what makes life worth living.
Simple, if not a bit cliche. Most people I meet seem to work with a sense of anxious worry, not really happy enough about their career to qualify for a “live to work” mantra– or any mantra at all. Work, to them, is just something they do to pay their bills (or so they tell me). This to me, is an intolerable hell and I salute anyone that lives under such precept without killing themselves.
These people are different from the “live to work” crowd. I’ve met very few people who really “live to work”. To everyone else, I ask:
“Why aren’t you working on important problems?”
No, really, why not? I mean, if you’re going to work– work on something interesting, something worth working on. Maybe “live to work” would make more sense if you were doing something important. And if you are “working to live”, that’s great that you have a life, but are you working on anything important? Work should not be something that distracts you from the things you care about.
I know people who “work to live” and they hate their jobs, or at best spend less time than they like doing the things they love. Think of times when you loved what you were working on, it’s a great feeling– the problem happens the moment you decide you’re too busy amidst all the various interesting projects to take time for yourself (to travel, to explore, go back to school, etc). You’ll soon start to envy the “work to live” crowd, but before you run off to wait tables in Paris, consider the logical fourth option.
Work not just to enable you to live, but simultaneously live such that it enables you to work. Explore the world and find projects worth working on, something worth devoting your time to– if you’re going to truly live, then your time and effort (that is, your “work”) should be towards those things that make life worth living. We all have an internal barometer, use it! The moment you feel the pressure to travel (or skydive, paint, etc), do it! And likewise the moment you feel that lifeless boredom take hold, go work on something interesting– put your hands into something important!
Idealistic, I know, but it’s something worth living and working towards