According to USA Today, the average person makes 35,000 decisions each day. What tie they will wear, flats or heels,
what to eat for dinner, where to get gas…you get my point. Every one of those decisions correlates to a weight on our life, no matter how insignificant it may seem. The summation of each decision essentially equals our lifestyle.
Last week I had a conversation with an office buddy about our work-life lifestyles. The critical talking point of our conversation was about a decision every intern will make as soon as they officially enter the workforce.
While our decisions are predominantly unconsciously made, whether you consciously think about it or not, every person in the workforce decides on a daily basis:
he/she will live to work
or he/she will work to live
When I think of living to work I think of my grandfather who I only remember meeting twice. He spent his entire career as a firefighter and was the first black fire chief of the city. He also founded and was the first President of the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters. He spanned the nation seeking to start chapters to unify black fire fighters so that they could stand a chance to advance in their careers during the Civil Rights era. I guess you could call him the Martin Luther King, Jr. of firefighting. It is an amazing legacy that defined him. However, his life became his work, which is very common when you have passion, determination, goals and responsibilities.
There’s a really good article from The Guardian that lays out the differences and reasons that living to work is
commonplace among baby boomers and Gen X’ers, while the newer generations tend to gravitate towards working to live.
As the article describes, many rising Gen Y’ers and Millennial would agree that they work to live. They spend their free time building their passion and goals around activities outside of work. Joy is found in mountain biking, hiking, weight lifting, Comic-Con, traveling the world, starting a family and building the lifestyle they desire. In contrast to our parents and grandparents, life for my generation is defined by the lifestyle our talents and careers afford us.
We all can choose to find passion and purpose inside the workplace, outside or both. I prefer to find a balance, making conscious decisions every day and correcting myself toward my intended destination. However you decide to live…decide how you’ll live and make sure it makes you happy.