A Choice: Live to Work or Work to Live

Photo by Ewan Robertson on Unsplash

From someone who seems like she has it all figured out. I surprisingly don’t, to be honest. I do have a plan for the near future, but I don’t really have a step-by-step plan after graduation or for the rest of my life as everything is up in the air. I also know older people who still haven’t figured it out! However, one of my relatives proposed a simple question that helped settle my anxiety and worries for the future.

Would you rather live to work or work to live?

To survive, we all need to work, whether it is working at a job you hate to make ends meet or working for the sake of the work itself. However, to what extent are you willing to work? This question could possess multiple meanings. Let’s define the two terms.

In my eyes, working to live means working to financially fulfill the activities outside of your professional life. This tends to mean that your job or career is not the main priority of your whole life, rather your career is a fraction of what you are experiencing. Lately, I have been seeing a rise in entrepreneurial content where creators are preaching the lifestyle of working less but gaining more in money and time. It’s similar to the idea of working to save and invest money to not have to work until retirement.

Living to work means working to make money while devoting your time towards professional life. This tends to mean that our career is the main priority and everything else is secondary. A living embodiment of this would be the workaholics. Workaholics tend to set aside the fun to pursue more for their careers. Given our society’s demands to achieve more, we may find ourselves wanting to do more for our professional life.

Is there a right answer to this question?

The answer is… it depends on you. Personally, I would rather have a mix of both. In the future, the high school counseling profession is immersive where the students impact my life. In addition, getting paid to impact lives while having to work a structured number of hours does put me at ease. However, I do know that a helping profession has the capabilities to take over my life where work would be my number one priority. I guess it is better to say that whatever you decide to pursue professionally, make sure that you are fulfilled with those decisions and that the career choice allows you to protect your mental and emotional boundaries.

What would you choose, the ability to work in order to live or the ability to live in order to work?

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mostly writing what I have been thinking for awhile infj-t | enneagram 4 | IG: @stephalexpham

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Stephanie Pham

Stephanie Pham

mostly writing what I have been thinking for awhile infj-t | enneagram 4 | IG: @stephalexpham

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