On working to live…or vice versa…

Some of us live to work. Others work to live.

I was asked the other day what my ideal job would be. What would I do if I could do anything in the entire world? What is my dream job? Naturally, what comes to my head facetiously is, “Can you get paid for sleeping, watching movies, reading, and trying on wedding gowns? ‘Cause I’d like to do that!” But the “real” answer is that I’d like to work for a publishing house, doing initial read-throughs of all sorts of books. I suppose then, yes, there is a job out there where I get to read all day long and get paid for it. The person that asked me that same question would like to be a pilot, one of those fancy-schmany corporate gigs where you get to fly people to Europe or the Bahamas and sit there for a week until the client decides they need or want to go somewhere else. Yeah, you can get paid to do that, too.

The problem with both of those jobs is that it involves a lot of grunt work, essentially being someone’s bitch for X number of years before maybe getting into the actual line of work intended.

It’s like Andie in The Devil Wears Prada. She wanted to write, but had to be somebody’s lackey just get in the door of a publication. I mean, it’s hard, thankless work. I’m sure it pays off, but at 30 years old, is that something I’m willing to do? I’m not sure.

And I’ve always been one of those people that works to live. I work so that I can get paid and have, do, or experience anything I want to (usually this manifests itself in traveling). I’m pretty koo-koo town about savings and having that necessary, but evil cushion for those “just in case” moments. And it’s come in handy (like when I unexpectedly had to drop $500 on new tires in one fell swoop). But I’m not sure I’d put it past me to blow it all on traveling. Admittedly, I’m a somewhat worldly person. I like having “things”…I like my electronics and kitchen gadgets/appliances and jewelry and whatever. I like to have fun things. So yeah, having a job benefits the life I currently lead.

But what if the job I had was the life I wanted to lead?

I recently read Ivanka Trump’s book, The Trump Card, and found myself both baffled and impressed that someone my age had found passion and fulfillment in a JOB. A JOB, for crying out loud! This is a woman who wakes up every morning and (apparently) is delirious with joy that she gets to go to the office. Okay, now granted, she seems to do a LOT of world traveling for said job and she makes a crap-load of cash doing it, but it’s still a job. And she shows up at the office at 6am, ready to rock and roll for the next 10 – 12 hours and couldn’t be happier doing it. SHE GOES IN ON WEEKENDS!

What if I had a job that made me so deliriously happy that I actually pined for full inboxes and phones ringing at all hours? What if sitting at my desk for ten hours a day was really, truly, and honestly the most exciting and useful way for me to spend my time?

How many of us live in that world? I have a friend that appeared to live there for a while and with her new job, she very well might still be living in that world. But her situation also begs another question: can doing what you’re passionate about also provide a decent salary?

I had a professor once tell me, “Do what makes you happy.” That’s all well and good, but what if what makes me happy ends up making me miserable because the salary blows?

I honestly wonder if it’s even possible to live to work and work to live, all at the same time…

2 thoughts on “On working to live…or vice versa…

  1. I think it's just difficult to be happy with a job you don't enjoy. I've had a lot of jobs that fit my “career path” that eventually got really boring and lame, even though the salary supported the lifestyle I wanted. Having that “perfect job” is probably a very elusive thing, where you're both happy at work and happy at home, unless you're willing to make some sacrifices of what you'd call “happy.” Being a writer/author is one of those same things, with the grunt work of the first few successes that can take a long time, but it's very rarely a career that catapults someone into a comfortable fortune. It is, however, the thing I think I was “born to do” for lack of a better term. If I can make money doing it, that's all well and good, but if not I will probably have to suffer a day job that otherwise supports my lifestyle while allowing me time to pursue the writing goal. It may be boring and lame, at some points, but so far it has been a close-to-ideal situation as far as those surface elements are concerned. When and if I start to see the “success” roll in, we'll talk.

  2. It takes a while to get comfortable in a career. There will be a learning curve the first few years. I was REALLY frustrated my first few years out of school. I made pennies and worked so many ridiculous hours. At one point, I almost gave up and went back to school for something else, but I stuck in out and am so happy I did. But I can't really say I live to work until I'm independently wealthy and don't have to work. But anyway, there will be challenges and you'll want to give up sometimes but stick it out! It's worth it and I have full faith in you, esp after what you've been able to accomplish so far.

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