Working to live, not vice versa

6 03 2010

A colleague recently told me, “I work to live, not live to work.” She so succinctly summarized a concept that I have been struggling with for years. In additiont to my perfectionism, I turn my work into a question of existence, a be-all end-all matter.

Therefore, a perfectionist, I am never satisfied with my work and my results, which means I am not satisfied with my whole existence.

In this new position I’ve taken recently (a schoolteacher), I have made a resolution to not live to work, only I didn’t know what that meant. But having put some thought into it, I think I have an idea now.  It means not to be thinking about work day and night. It means not to be thinking about work when you’re not at work. It means remembering that there are other aspects to life: going out, watching tv, seeing friends, cooking. These are other parts of our lives that are equally important.

I still go on autopilot and contemplate about work every waking moment but I am getting better at catching myself doing it and reminding myself that it’s only a job, not necessarily a career. It’s a job that I do to make a living, to live; it’s not my whole living.

Hopefully, with time, my living will be more inclusive of other activities and I will get better and better at working to live.

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