Posted On September 28, 2018 By In Regulars, Top Stories With 331 Views

Word on the Street – Do You Work to Live or Live to Work?

by Lara Gladych – 

Seaside Magazine wants to live up to our slogan of being “the voice of the Saanich Peninsula,”so, in every issue, we’ll be asking people to answer a question. We’re looking for responses from all ages and across the diverse neighbourhoods that form our community.

For this issue I sent the question “Do you work to live, or live to work?” off to various people within my network here on the Peninsula. I think that most readers will hear at least some of their own feelings echoed in the responses I received this  month.

“I live to live,” said Colin, 52, casting new light on the question. “Work is just a minor distraction that tries to get in the way sometimes, but never succeeds, as I’m too busy living life.” 

Stephanie, 45, is a “live to work” person. “That’s because I love what I do. I don’t love it all of the time, but 95% of the time. I’m actually on my third career at age 45, and it’s not because I have been unsuccessful at a career, nor am I indecisive. I simply have an open mind with different passions and interests, and I believe that change is good for the soul [and] allows for personal growth. Life is too short to not enjoy what you do. It should never be ‘just a job.’”

Jay, 39, said: “I don’t think I do either. Or maybe [I do] both? I really enjoy my job and I’m always looking forward to going back to work after a stretch of time off. Even back-to-back days are not a chore, but I don’t feel the need to come to work every day because I am so wrapped up in the job itself. It’s a great balance. I hope others feel this way about what they do, too.”

“I feel I’m one of the fortunate ones that actually loves going to work,” reflected Anette, 48. “I am thankful to have a job that truly brings me joy, and one where I feel I’m making a difference. Even if I won the lottery I’d still be working. Maybe not full time, so I could enjoy more quality family life, but I would definitely not quit. So, I guess I live to work. I can’t imagine going to work everyday and not enjoying it. We spend the majority of our lives at work, so to stay positive and inspired it should always be something you enjoy.” 

Lisa, 47, brought good points to both sides of the argument. “I don’t think of them as distinct [or] ‘either/or’ scenarios. When I hear “live to work” I think it implies that work is the only priority. Conversely, when I hear “work to live” I think it implies that work is just something to get through. I don’t identify with either. For me, I live and I work, and I enjoy both … I don’t do one for the other; rather, I try to make sure that I balance both so that I can enjoy each without one being at the expense of another.” 

Balance was emphasized by Pete, 50, too. “Good, positive balance is definitely important to me. I think I am better at what I do if I strike a right balance between work, leisure and family. I think when I can find that balance everyone benefits: my family, my customers and me!”

“Without question, I work to live!” said Ben, 46. “In my early 20s I had a series of health issues which quickly taught me that any day outside of a hospital is a great day! I am extremely fortunate to have been able to make a living in my dream career, but my family is my true priority. No amount of money or career success can buy back your health or the time you’ve missed with your loved ones.” 

Mary, also 46, had this to say: “Work to live. I love my work but I often, so very often, think that if I won the lottery how much I would absolutely love to not ‘work’ for a paycheque but, rather, I would spend my days volunteering in the exact same area. I would have the fun and rewarding feeling of how very important what I do is, but without the often-overwhelming feeling of pressure to be everything to all.” 

Stephanie is 48, and her candid thinking will surely resonate with many. “I think in a perfect world we would all like to find the work-life balance and respond that we work to live. Setting perfect worlds aside, in my business, which is 100% commission, we must always be either working or looking for work. It’s a question of survival. There are no guarantees, and you are only as good as your last sale. Although I would like to respond with ‘working to live,’ it’s truly more like ‘living to work.’”

Amanda, 42, who is in the “work to live” party, loves the quote “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” In this month of Thanksgiving, may we all find more balance in our lives.



Your West Coast Culture. A magazine about the people and places that make the Saanich Peninsula the little piece of paradise we call home.

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