Do you ‘Work to Live’ or ‘Live to Work?’

‘Work to Live’ or ‘Live to Work?’

There seem to be three camps when it comes to perspectives on the ‘Work to Live’ or ‘Live to Work’ debate. 

  • Work should be enjoyable, and the financial aspect is an afterthought
  • Work should be about making money to provide for ourselves and our families
  • Work should include both enjoyable tasks and provide enough financial reward to support us. 

What if there was a fourth camp? 

When people choose careers, my feeling is that they tend to look for work that gives them enough money to fund their current lifestyle and find a job where they may enjoy some factors, at least in the beginning. 

Once in a role, people generally seem to follow a career path laid out for them by that employer. Many workers passively accept the work they are given and (if they’re are lucky) the training programs that organizations provide. It appears that few people spend time outside of their jobs to consider that there could be more on offer. Few seem to spend time understanding what elements of that job they most enjoy or seek out opportunities to grow their careers in the direction that most suits their desires and their financial needs. 

How to Know What You Value at Work

As employees, we can explore, and have people who manage or lead us explore, by asking questions like:

  • What sparks your interest most in this role?
  • What have you seen others do at work that interests you?
  • What do you like to do outside of work?
  • What is it about those activities that interest you?
  • What media do you read/follow? (without prying intrusively into someone’s personal life, of course.)
  • What is it about those people/shows/ feeds that inspires you? 
  • How can I put more of the factors that interest and inspire me into my job? 
  • What financial needs do I need to meet now, in 2 years, five years, ten years, at retirement age? 
  • Who can help me to understand my financial goals better? 


I don’t claim to be a financial planner of any sort, far from it, but I recognize the importance of working for a living. I also recognize the necessity to our mental health of doing something that energizes rather than depletes us. If we spend time considering (or find people to help us to evaluate) what financial and passion plans we need to map our futures to support our goals, we can create careers that meet our combined needs.

We Are The Masters Of Our Destinies

We are not confined to the boundaries put on us by one job, or even one career path. We are much broader than that, and we need to celebrate that fact.

With such insight, we can begin to understand better what drives us and take ownership of shaping our careers to meet our combined needs, rather than looking to organizations to do it for us. We are the masters of our destinies, and I believe we need to take more ownership over our future career paths. 


If you’re someone who loves their job or career, and you’d like to be interviewed for the my upcoming book on the subject, or be a guest on the upcoming ‘Love to Work’ podcast, please reach out to me on

Love to Work!




Do you ‘Work to Live’ or ‘Live to Work?’

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