Monday, May 11, 2015

Work to Live or Live to Work

I was talking with a friend last week about her job.  She sort of apologized that she hadn't yet moved on from her less than satisfying position at a big law firm in NYC.  She knows I don't care where she works but it led us to talk about why she is still there.  She has a fair amount of flexibility, a lot of autonomy (especially for her industry), lots of vacation time and is very well-paid.  This job allows her to still have a life outside of work and affords her some of the things she wants in, shoes, her own apartment, savings.  So depending on a person's criteria, she actually has an awesome job.  It is that age old to live or live to work.  I know my fair share that slave away into the late evening hours on many a day.  And for those who love it, then great!  I have colleagues who are giddy about reading an anatomy book on a Saturday night.  Me, not so much...but for them, it is pure enjoyment.

I often struggle with where my work and career fall on the list of priorities.  I work hard, but should/could I be doing more?  I think where I question the amount of time we spend working in this lifetime is when the work interferes with living a happy, balanced and satisfying life.  If the answer is always..."later".  or..."when I retire".  or..."soon I will have time to try that".  or..."I meant to use all my vacation days".  Then I ask, what are you waiting for?  To retire at 62 and within months be showing signs of early stage Alzheimer's like my mother?  Or die unexpectedly from a heart attack at 49?  Because at that point the life you "saved" until you were done working ain't gonna happen.

So to my dear friend Ann, and the anatomy geeks who can't get enough of your are both right.  Nobody can judge what the right formula is for you.  But make sure it is a conscious decision.  We only get one shot at this life.  What do you want it to look like?

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