Work to Live, Don't Live to Work

In this economy, you might feel pressured to sacrifice a work-life balance just to keep your job. But this is not always healthy.
Work to Live, Don't Live to Work
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Thanks to technological advances, there are currently lots of possibilities available for developing knowledge and adapting this knowledge to the needs of any moment. Oftentimes you hear people say they need to find a job that they truly like, because then they’ll never have to work a day in their life. What you need to do is work to live, don’t live to work.

We all know that this isn’t exactly easy. To make a living, people are sometimes forced to do certain professional jobs that don’t fit in with their likes, or even their values. But it shouldn’t be this way. If you have to spend a large portion of your day in a hostile environment that violates your principles, sooner or later it will affect your emotional health. This will also, consequently, affect your physical health.

Life is too short to work the wrong job. That’s why, if possible, you should do activities that fit your talents. And above all else, do things that give you the satisfaction of doing something that you’re good at, that makes you feel good.

Let’s take a look at this.

Work to Live, Don’t Live to Work

If you are familiar with “the theory of the three eights”, you already know that ideally, a work day of 8 hours will give you time for 8 hours of recreation and 8 hours to rest, or sleep.

You also know that things don’t always break down this way. There are extra hours to your work shift, or split shifts that make you lose precious hours of the day.

Experts in work psychology generally point out 3 types of profiles when facing work and the complex environments surrounding them. They are as follows:

1. People who hate their job

This first dimension refers to individuals that, for whatever the circumstances, have reached the point that they hate their job.

  • This could be caused by several different factors like poor direction, people that don’t value their employees, that “exploit” them, and sometimes certain competitive or high-pressure environments whereby certain colleagues cause you to dislike your job.

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Stress prevention at work

2. Those who do what needs to be done

This part definitely contains the majority of the population. Work is, at the end of the day, necessary and obligatory. So you try your best to do the best job you can. But you’ll end up falling into a certain kind of resignation that prevents you from ever dreaming of living a better life, or winning the lottery.

  • If there is no sort of sharp discomfort, or destructive case as seen previously, sometimes people fall into routine or even a lack of motivation. These people end up losing their vital energy.
  • They slowly fall into apathy and asphyxiating routine, which could lead to stress and anxiety due to a lack of personal satisfaction. This is caused by an internal dissonance.
  • Work becomes a procedure, not something that defines you or makes you feel useful or proud of yourself. Although there are differences between individuals, a lot of people end up suffering from depression because of this.

3. People who love what they do

This group of people contains those that have found their vital purpose, which defines them. They identify with it. For these people, working is not an obligation, but rather gives them personal meaning.

  • Their work not only promotes their own satisfaction, but it also improves others’ quality of life.
  • People that love what they do, and that have been lucky enough to find a medium or context that values their abilities, work in their calling.
  • The word vocation comes from Latin, and means “a calling from inside to put your voice in action.” This is something that we all should discover. We all must find the means to carry this out.
Woman with camera that knows you don't live to work

The “Knowmads”, workers of the future

In this changing and increasingly complex society, a new work force has emerged which is just as interesting as it is useful.  They’re known as “knowmads” and they have the following characteristics:

  • A “knowmad” could be a young or older person that knows that he/she has abilities that can be useful to others, and wants to share them.
  • The Knowmads understands that their work is their passion, but they do it independently without needing direction or guidance.
  • These people like to connect, either personally or through technological means. This is generally where they find the perfect place to develop their work.
  • The Knowmad values his/her freedom. They transform information into knowledge and they are versatile. They are continuously learning, they are restless and don’t fear failure because they also view this as a way to learn.
Woman with her back on camera

One interesting focus is that they are writing a lot of books and teaching.  They are searching for new employment opportunities in a complex way, and they are trying to work to be happy above all else.

Don’t forget, work to live, don’t live to work!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.