Work to Live, Live to Work

Does your career define who you are?

It’s so easy for us to get so wrapped up in our jobs that we lose all identity of who we are. Simultaneously, we can find ourselves beginning to live for our work while working to live. The everday-ness of routine completely narrowing your thought-process, and the next thing you know you are defining your day job with who you are.

That’s what happened to my friend.

My friend has been working for a solid company for 6 years now. Starting at the bottom to where he is now as a supervisor is quite the testament to his incredible work ethic and attitude. I mean this guy is good at what he does!

There’s this other thing in his life though, his family. He’s on his second marriage and has a total of 6 kids (from previous marriage/girlfriend).

His job demands a lot from him. A whole lot. To be exact, it demands 240 traveling days (away from his family) out of the calendar year. When asked “How’s Life?” He simply replies, “Work is good!” After all, he has no choice if he wants to provide financially for his family, right?

Being on the road, waiting in a terminal, finishing up a job — my friend has completely lost his identity through his career. Coming home from his long road trips to his wife and kids has become coming home to his roommate and kids. It’s when he’s gone that his kids/wife are encountering life — and he doesn’t get to consistently be a part of it.

Did I mention that he was married? They actually just got divorced a few months ago, due to the fact that his job was so demanding of his time.

Now, he’s single with child support bills and longing for a redo – all because his priorities as a “breadwinner” got out of whack.

I think we start out in a career with our priorities in line. We think, “I’m gonna work out every day at 5:30am before I go to work, be the best I can be at work, arrive home by 5:15pm, love on my wife, be at all my kid’s baseball games, and start it all over the next morning with a huge smile on my face.”

But as our career kicks off, promotions/demotions happen, location changes happen, strict demands happen, pressure to conform happens, stress happens. We lose those priorities quick if we aren’t careful. In losing these priorities, we put the things we first prioritized on the back burner, in hopes of the “providing-for-the-family” aspect making up for time actually spent with our loved ones.

I want this to be a reminder — don’t let your career define you. Don’t LIVE strictly for your work. Make a list and realize your priorities — then keep them in check. Make sacrifices for the sake of your family and continuously evaluate where your job/career is taking you. Jobs are essentially meant to provide financial stability and satisfy passions(if you can find a job that does that) — but remember, the stability you can provide at home as a husband or a father is 10-times more important than your twice-a-month checks.

ML

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