Do we live to work or work to live?
Or put another way, what is your true motivation for doing what you do?
On a recent overseas trip to visit my brother, I was astounded to discover the long hours that he spends working. Due to the international nature of his role, effectively he NEVER stops working; when he is not physically at his place of work, he is working at home checking emails and the like. This has led me to think: why do we do what we do and do we actually have a choice in this situation?
In my brother’s case, as an employee, he is accepting of this arrangement and as a consequence is willing to go along with it. But does this make it right? Should we be so compliant that we allow our work to be inexorable? And what do we receive in return: a financial incentive? A thank you? Nothing? I can hear the old ‘do more for less’ syndrome ringing in my ears!
But surely it just comes down to personal choice?
My brother is by no means alone. I used to be Managing Director of a company where I worked very long hours. I enjoyed my work. However it took me many, many years to realise that I was missing out on my home life; I realised I was missing the very things in my life that were most precious to me – my family. My solution was to leave this job in order to re-assess my priorities. The rest is history as they say; I now run my own successful consultancy where I am in charge of my own destiny. I have never felt more fulfilled.
I am not advocating that self-employment is the panacea for everyone. However, we do all have both the power of choice and the ability to make all important, life changing decisions. So, I am asking the question, what are the priorities in your life? Do you live to work or work to live?