There’s an old adage that goes something like this:
Don’t live to work, work to live.
We work for a variety of reasons, but if we have a healthy attitude towards life, our work isn’t central to our lives – it’s about enabling us to do what we want to do with our friends and family.
That has different meanings for different people. For some, it means working six months a year in casual jobs so they can backpack around the world for the other six months. For others, it means high-paying jobs that allow them to live an opulent lifestyle. For most of us, it’s somewhere in-between.
Survey after survey shows a simple fact: for most people, money isn’t a primary motivation in their careers. That’s not to say the amount they earn is irrelevant, it just means it’s not an overpowering factor.
I learnt long ago that the amount I was paid was no longer a key consideration. I wanted to be paid enough to be comfortable in life, but despite aspirations I’d held in my late 20s/early 30s of earning vast sums of money, maturity brought that basic wisdom I mentioned at the start: work to live, not live to work.
For me, work was about more ephemeral things … or thing, to be more honest. Satisfaction.
Satisfaction is a personal measure. What is satisfying for one person is not necessarily for another. It’s not even necessarily a single thing. In fact, it’s not usually a single thing, but an amalgam. Satisfaction comes from within and without – it may be something derived by your own feelings, but since your feelings are influenced by others as well as yourself, satisfaction is actually a lot more complicated than we usually give it credit for.
But there is one thing exceedingly simple about satisfaction: When it disappears, you’re faced with a choice: you can either live to work, or move on.
It’s really not a choice at all.