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Work to live or live to work?

'Overworked Workers sleep in their office' photo (c) 2007, hiroo yamagata - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

My question really is, is it demanding of me to want to earn a living, yet at the same time enjoy what I am doing?

The way I see it, I spend a very large proportion of my life at work , for me Monday – Friday is written off each week since with my commute, all there is time for is a quick snack, shower and bed before I do it all over again!

As you can imagine this leaves me deeply dissatisfied, not only do I have a job that prevents me from having any sort of life, I don’t enjoy it either! I just sort of ended up doing the degree I did (not my first choice by a stretch) then kind of fell into this job – it was with a company I was already working for and my degree and experience fitted. I earn a decent wage but i am so unhappy. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this role for a little while, and life was a little easier as I was more accepting of the sacrifices I was making, but after a while i no longer felt challenged, then boredom and dissatisfaction crept in.

I know I don’t belong in my workplace, I’m not like the others there, I don’t have ambition to get to the top of the ladder. When I see people stressing so much about little insignificant things- I want to shake them and remind them the world won’t end if that barker telling the customer something or other can’t happen right now (no-one reads them anyway!), there is more to life! I don’t do JFDI’s, I’m not the sort of person to jump to attention because someone with an important title has asked for something on a whim which must happen tomorrow – I work in print – lets stop running around stressing ourselves trying to achieve the impossible!

That’s the thing, I see so many people around me stressed, making themselves Ill from it… Unfortunately including myself, I know something needs to change.

I don’t know exactly what I want to do, but I’m pretty sure it would involve something like the following…
– writing
– baking
– creativity
– flexibility
– people
– travel

Suggestions on a postcard? I think even doing all of the above would even make me so happy (maybe I could be a travelling baker who writes very pretty books ?!) however I’m stuck doing something more regular right now because of the silly debts I have – I guess it’s karma right?! Never have I felt so trapped in 4 walls as I do right now though! I am so very envious of the freelancers in the world, more so the ones who get to write for a living, I’m realistic enough to know that I’m no book author, but I’ve been told before I have an amusing tone to my writing, and hey…you’re reading this right?! Another frustrating thing for me is that people constantly tell me my baking is of a professional standard and ask why i don’t do that for a living- well, 2 dogs mean i cant hygiene certify my kitchen and don’t have the finances to pay someone to use theirs 😦 Game over on that idea!

Overall I guess what I’m looking for is a way out, like Freddie once sang “I WANT TO BREAK FREE” It’s not very fun living the wrong life . . . hopefully it isn’t for too long. . .

. . . *rant over*

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10 responses to “Work to live or live to work?

  • pseudointellectualviewpoint

    Interesting. So it is not just in India that there are people who are willing to die for the entity they are working for. People who take pride in being professional at work but are not professional about managing their lives.
    You raise a very good point. I too used to treat my career as an end in itself, rather than seeing it as a means to an end. The end in this case being money as well gainful usage of time. Interestingly, we work so that we can be happy by using the income for our betterment, but with today’s world a lot of time is spent at work that there is no time for enjoyment.
    I too face the same problem. It is extremely important, to make sure that one does three things every day – Occupation, Exercise, Play or Entertainment. Each day needs to be balanced like this.
    If you are brave enough, you should venture out into free lancing.
    Debts are what holds most of us back, but there is also a fear of failure.
    Few people really enjoy their jobs because ultimately there is a responsibility attached and when that is there, more often than not pressures take over. So most people who say they are enjoying their jobs are masochists 🙂 Don’t beat yourself up about it.
    Until then enjoy the English summer (to the extent you can) by doing three things everyday work, exercise and entertainment.

    • ria

      You have hit the nail on the head – all work and no play! And for me 50% of my wage is spent on my car in order to actually get me to work – crazy, so realistically it’s not even providing me with cashflow! But I suppose it is reassuring to know that should I find a new job a little closer to home I can afford to take a pay cut!

      I’m currently hitting 1 out of 3, seriously, every day I am inwardly raging! At least I can try and turn the frustration around into something positive, I guess I’m just coming to a point in life where I’m really ready for change, I just need to make it happen… and I’m no longer feeling patient about it! Think it’s time to sit myself down and have another budgeting session – work out exactly when I will be free!

      English summer! Ha, I would enjoy it, however I’m not the biggest fan of torrential rain and floods! :-p

  • American Punjaban

    I worked a job I didn’t feel like was where I belonged. I liked it but it wasn’t where I wanted to be long term. When I moved to India I took my second job, a writing job, with me. It kept the bills paid, let me shop all I wanted and still have money to save. While I don’t love writing, it does afford me the benefits I prefer. I get up, move around, take breaks and such whenever I want. The money is good. I recommend it IF you like to write and can follow rules (not just grammar but any additional rules given by your clients). There are two ways to do writing. You can use content mills or seek out your own clients. It just depends on what works for you. Taking that job with me to India was great. The only issues I had was power outages. Those caused me to have to rework my schedule to make sure work got done but I don’t think they were a major hindrance. I just has to do more offline or while I was disconnected that I would in the states.

    • American Punjaban

      Oh, and if you decide to pursue a freelance type job, do it before you quit your other job. It will be a challenge, but start freelancing before you leave behind a steady paycheck. It takes time to establish yourself. Don’t leave yourself with too little income.

    • ria

      This just sounds ideal! My current job involves following brand guidelines, tone of voice etc etc that that’s all quite normal to me, I have to write (be it short) copy quite often as the content team don’t have time to help me out! I don’t know if I have what is needed but I certainly am gonna give it a go! What sort of things do you write for? And do you focus on a particular subject matter?

      • American Punjaban

        I currently have a contract with a major US newspaper that takes up most of my time. I write about home topics like installing floors and painting walls because I have a lot of experience there. In the past I’ve also written about cell phones and sewing. I always stick with topics I know about and the writing is fairly easy.

  • s0nali

    When you are getting bored and dissatisfied with your job, that’s the time you need to take charge of your own career path. You can either make a full break – start your own cake decorating business or write your novel – or you can do it incrementally. The second option is much less risky but will get you where you want to be slower. If you have debts or a family though, it’s a more realistic one.

    The first step is to see if you can get challenged in your job. When was the last time you went to a trade conference? Ordered a new magazine talking about the latest and greatest in your field? Met up with people outside your company who do what you do? Have you talked to your boss about things you can do to get better at what you do? Additional responsibilities you can take on?

    What about a lateral move? If you’re in marketing, how about a position in training? If you’re in tech support, what about moving an internal support role instead of external support? It’s a big huge lie that the only way to move in a company is up.

    Can you tailor your own job to fit you better? Can you take on projects that you really love, do them with 120% of your ability, and impress people so much that they keep giving you THOSE kinds of projects and stop giving you the stuff you don’t like?

    If you want to jump ship, is there another company around that allows you to do the same thing PLUS something else? Or allows you to focus more on one part of your job instead of the fifteen things you currently do? What about vendors you work with – do they have open positions?

    It has taken me ten years of incremental moves, lots of hard work, and a little dumb luck to get where I am now, and I love my job and what I do. I still work for a company. I’m not the famous singer I thought I would be (and honestly, when I tried doing that professionally, I found that I loved it less!) I think there’s a big myth that you have to be either “a creative” or “an entrepreneur” to enjoy your job. It simply isn’t true. You have to find those things about what you do that you DO enjoy and do more of them. Play to your strengths. If you do, you may find that you have your ideal job and you never even went anywhere 🙂

    • ria

      The thing is that I am confident that I don’t want to continue in the field I am working in, I am in marketing and the career-hungry, stressed out, live to work life isn’t for me, I like to think I’m more of a chilled out, creative sort of “go with the flow” person. I have recently undergone my annual “talent review” where there is the opportunity to request moves/additional responsibilities/career building, and for me the most important thing I wanted to address was re-balancing my work/life balance- if I can do that I may finally be able to find the time to start doing the things that fulfill me.

      I’ve looked at moving into different departments but jobs are really hard to come by, I work for a large supermarket chain and there is a massive pool of talent qualified, and sitting in our branches ready to pounce when the opportunity arises in head office – I know because that is how I got my job! However, like I said, I’ve made it known that I need a change, and my managers will be supportive, it’s just hoping there is the opportunity for that. Ultimately even if that change of path happens, I still think there needs to be a bigger change, however that may be more of a long term goal I guess.

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