I received the below text from my best friend last week (pardon any talk-to-text typos). She’s a healthcare recruiter down in South Florida and isn’t exactly crazy about her career.
Like me, she spent a couple of her post-grad years working retail. It was 2008, and the times were rough. Retail was a secure option with solid pay and benefits. It’s also oddly gratifying work, in that you make tangible progress every day. On the flip side, we worked some of our formative career years (22-25) as managers of people. This can both jade you, and make you a little cocky going into your first “traditional” or office job.
For me, the transition was welcomed. My best friend on the other hand is having a harder time. [RE: Our Text Exchange]
The difference between the two of us is simple: I have decided to work to live, where she still is trying to decide if she is one of the few who lives to work.
For my friend, life centers on her work and her progress towards status achievement. Money is a motivator, but not for the experiences it affords her, but rather the title status a certain income bracket typically brings within an organization. She likes what she does 8/10 days, but that 20% deficiency in making a daily impact/progress really wears her down.
For me, money is also a motivator. It’s a means to an end. At the moment, that end is a week in the Keys starting July 24, 2014, and in 2015 it’s a 10-day trek through the Cinque Terre in Italy.
Typical Millennial outlook? Sure. And I don’t see anything wrong with that.
It’s not about finding work-life balance. I enjoy working. I really enjoy what I do. I’m a high achiever and I’m engaged. I’ll work 7-? on any given day if that’s what it takes to get the job done. But it doesn’t always stem from passion— most of the time it stems from solid parenting. If you make a commitment, you honor that commitment by whatever means necessary.
My friend is at a crossroad. Her drive is being tested, and I had some simple advice to offer:
- Develop realistic career expectations.
- Find a daily source of motivation.
- Accept that only a sliver of the population gets to live to work (in a healthy way).
There’s a new batch of kids that just entered the workforce upon graduation last month, their college swagger soon to be tested. What’s your advice to them [and my friend] as they navigate work to live vs. live to work?