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Are you working to live or living to work? Are both possible?

  • 9th Jun'22

“Work as though you will live forever, and live as though you would die today. Go another mile!” The following quote by Og Mandino, author of "The Greatest Salesman in the World," encapsulates the struggle for work-life integration. What a great idea, but can anyone pull it off and understand it?

Although most people do not think about establishing a balance between work-life integration in such philosophical terms, the battle is real. When the pendulum swings too far in either direction, life and work can feel imbalanced and stressful. Do you work to live or live to work? In this article, we'll look at people who either work to live or live to work, and whether we really need to pick one.


Live to work

The person who lives to work, whether a full-time employee, freelancer, or business owner, loves their job so much that they can't find a happy medium between their professional life and their home and family life. While others spend their nights and weekends pursuing hobbies or spending time with family and friends, this individual would rather be at work. A workaholic is a term that many people use to describe someone who fits these criteria.

Professionals who live to work will agree with the saying, “If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life.” They may not even consider the activity, which takes up 50 to 60 hours a week or more, to be working. They don't think it's a negative thing if they don't have any outside interests. Furthermore, they don't have what other people would call a personal life since they enjoy or are motivated to work, and they don't miss it.

Surprisingly, the motivation for working is often a response to an inner drive rather than a need for more money. The motivation could be good, such as a strong desire to excel at one's job or career. 


Work to live

People who fit under this group prioritize having a good time. They focus on their home or personal lives once they leave work for the day and do not think about their work at all. They believe that having less money because they refuse to work extra or accept a promotion is worth it since it creates a happy medium in their lives. Furthermore, they generate enough money to cover their expenses and even save a bit, which suits them perfectly.

On the flip side, people who work to live may not be able to pursue their desired profession since they value family time and free time. As a result, they may spend over 2,000 hours per year doing a job that they dislike. They are often unaware that persistent under-stimulation might negatively affect energy levels.

Because full-time workers spend more than a third of their day at work, pursuing something they at least enjoy is a substantial source of life happiness. For those on all sides of the issue, finding a better work-life integration is vital.


Would it be possible to do both?

People can find it difficult to notice when the pendulum has swung too far in the opposite direction, regardless of their work habits. Those who fully tune out their employment when they're not at work may find it difficult to motivate themselves to go to work at all. Because they are not engaged with what they are doing, they may eventually make careless blunders at work.

Those that work as much as possible can experience burnout at any time. They are exhausted both physically and mentally. They lose their enthusiasm for their task, and they struggle to put in even the bare minimum of effort. Others are affected by overwork more subtly. Due to physical and sensory overload, they may acquire new or worsening health problems, dispute more with their spouses, or act irresponsibly.

In the United States, it is often socially acceptable for those who do not have a committed partner or children to work as much as they wish. Others want them to develop that impossible thin line between job and home life once they have started a family. Empty nesters experience the same problem, however, the expectation is that people will work less as they get older.


What about work-life integration?

Because it emphasizes a conflict between the two, the concept of work-life integration has gone out of favor in recent years. We believe that the work-life integration method is more harmonious. People are not required to draw rigid lines between different aspects of their life; instead, they are given time to incorporate job, family duties, health and well-being, and community into their daily lives.

People who work from home have a genuine desire to integrate their work and personal lives. They begin their work day by turning on their laptops before the children awaken, then take a break to get the children ready for school and run errands. They return home, work for a few more hours, and then go to the gym for a lunchtime workout. Then it's back home for more work, nights with their families, and possibly concluding the day by planning the schedule for the next day.


Shellye is committed to helping people from diverse backgrounds achieve their careers and life aspirations. The content published above was made in collaboration with our members.

Shellye Archambeau is determined to help you with all possible strategies to climb the ladder of success. She values your feedback. Do mention them in the comment section below.


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Both are possible when teaching, being paid for what you love doing.

2022-07-08 20:06:18