Do You Live to Work or Work to Live?

by Krantcents · 16 comments

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Do you live to work or work to live? This is an important question, but rarely taken seriously! Every employer want employees who are dependable, trustworthy, and good at their jobs.. How do they measure performance? A good employee gets the job done on time. It helps when the employee is self motivated and can overcome the various obstacles and problems that undoubtedly interfere with that objective.

If you do not like your job or career it is difficult to do your best. About 70% of people are dissatisfied with their jobs! Based on that statistic alone, it is not surprising that many employees perform their job poorly. Poor performers usually are not making a lot of money or getting promotions. Too many people never really think about a career or spend the time to find one. They just take a job because they need the money.

Except for very few people, we all need money to live. A job usually provides the income to live. Whether you go to college, trade school or learn a trade, you think you have a particular interest and look for work. Just looking at the interest will probably lead to driving a truck if you like to drive. The downside to that thinking is looking at the interest too narrowly. Driving is just one aspect of driving a truck. Driving, particularly long distances, is lonely and long hours.

There is no perfect job or career. Job satisfaction is usually better with workers who are earning more and are better educated. Money is not the only factor in job satisfaction though! Certain professions are more apt to have higher job satisfaction if they feel they are helping others such as firefighters, teachers, psychologists, clergy or physical therapists. Usually the people who decide on those careers are sincerely interested in helping people which adds to their job satisfaction. If not, you should find another career.

What can you do?

The very best answer to finding a satisfying career is doing something you love to do! How do you find out what you love to do? Start with research and then talk to the people who do that career. Don’t stop there! You can spend some time with that person or people to learn about the career and see exactly what they do. You start by shadowing someone for a few hours and take it from there. Depending on the situation, you can even get a part time job to give you more exposure while you get the training.

A sincere interest and training are just the beginning! Doctors (medical) get a lot of education, but they learn what they are good at while interning or residency. Figuring out what you like and are good at is the most important factors for a career choice. If you like what you do, you will be good at it because you will learn what you need to be successful. It comes from experience and the desire to be good at it. This is really hard to do, if you do not like what you do.

Doctors usually have their credentials posted on the wall. I like to read them because it tells me something about my doctors. It usually assures me of their training, but that is not all. They usually have awards posted such a Phi Beta Kappa, top doctor (national & local) awards, certifications and special training too. What makes them special is not displayed on the wall though! I always go with a referral from a friend or another doctor. This is the best reference and it is not exclusive to medicine!

Material success is one indication that you are good at what you do, but not the only one. What makes you happy in your profession may be different than other people, but the result is the same. You will perform your job or career better when you have job satisfaction. It is up to you to find ways you can feel good about your career choice! What are you doing to make your job more satisfying? I usually start with attitude and look for ways I can make an impact.

It is not easy as a teacher! I am not paid more if I am more effective than other teachers. It starts with my attitude and my goals for the class. I personalize my approach and try to get through to as many students as I can. One of my measurements is raising the pass rate for the class. Turning around an indifferent student is very satisfying for example. Job satisfaction helps you get through the difficulties of inadequate resources, funding and difficult students.

Final thoughts

Whether it is medicine, teaching or any other career, it is up to you to figure it out. You still need the skills, desire and talent to good work! Taking the time to figure out what you want to be is important! It takes time to learn enough about a profession to know if you will like it. Then you get the training to do it. Just because you graduated with a degree in English does not mean you should be an English teacher. Careers in sales, advertising, publishing, marketing, public relations communications or even law are possibilities. What are you going to do? Whether you live to work or work to live, it does not matter.

Photo by:  Flickr

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moneystepper March 4, 2014 at 1:54 am

I used to work to live and thought that this was the right way round. Living an enjoyable life was my priority. When I looked at people who took work too seriously, I thought they were missing out on life.

However, if you can make work something you live for BECAUSE you enjoy it, then this is the perfect scenario.

Work to live to work to live to work to live….

Krantcents March 4, 2014 at 6:56 am

I think it is always important to enjoy your work, but not when you live paycheck to paycheck. I enjoy my career (teaching) about 95% of the time. It helps that I am near the end (less than 3 years from retirement) of my caree.r

Renée (@nickelbynickel) March 9, 2014 at 5:28 am

Right now I’m doing both. My own company is plainly work to live, some of the other stuff is work I do because I want to. I can’t imagine to only work to survive your entire life. It sounds awful.

Krantcents March 9, 2014 at 10:15 am

Once you achieve a level of desired income, you hopefully will live to work. Following your passion has their own rewards once you earn enough.

Leonard @ The Wallet Doctor March 9, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Its so important to do what you love for a living. So few people get to experience that. You’ve got some great advice here for how to improve the situation. Thanks for sharing it!

Krantcents March 9, 2014 at 5:05 pm

I always enjoyed my careers (7 in total)! My career choices are even more enjoyable since I reached financial independence 29 years ago. I helped my children pick careers they enjoy and share this philosophy often with my students.

Kylie Ofiu March 15, 2014 at 8:59 pm

I agree. I know so many people unhappy in their jobs so they underperform. I have focused on developing the career I want so that I can enjoy my life. You spend so much time working I would hate to work in a job I do not enjoy.

I encourage my children to do what they love. They are young and I am also teaching financial responsibility.

Krantcents March 16, 2014 at 9:42 am

Good job! Too often, many people embark on a career and realize too late they do not like it. They feel trapped and unable to change without severe changes.

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