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Live to Work

Or Work to Live?


Businessman with paperwork in office
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Live to Work: Certain people, it is said, live to work. This is shorthand for saying that their lives center on their work or careers, and that achievement in their professions is a major source of satisfaction and meaning in their lives. Money may or may not be a major motivation for these people. In some cases, achieving huge levels of pay (as is the case with many senior corporate executives, such as CEOs) is coveted more as a means of keeping score and proving your relative worth versus other people, than it is for the money itself.

Work to Live: By contrast, other people work to live. These people view their work or careers largely as toil whose purpose is to earn a living. Their real interests lie elsewhere, and their work or careers are only means to an end, not an end in itself. Some of these people try to cut corners, to gain the maximum pay for the minimum of effort. Others do indeed take great pride in their work, and put great effort in doing their jobs well, but their jobs simply are not the centers of their lives.

Know Yourself: It is critical to understand whether you are fundamentally a live to work or a work to live type person. This will allow you to develop realistic expectations about yourself, and to choose career paths and employers accordingly. For the most part, high achievers who excel in demanding careers such as these are people who live to work:

The same tends to be true of people who rise to high levels of management.

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