There are some people who live to work: They are motivated by professional and personal success; they are upwardly mobile and want to keep advancing in their career until they reach the top of their respective industry. They want to be monetarily rewarded for their efforts while also earning the respect of their managers and peers. 

There are some people who work to live: They want to do their jobs well and then go home at the end of the day to spend time with their families and loved ones. They want to earn enough money to pay their bills and be a certain level of comfort, but work is a means to an end. They’d rather spend their hours doing things they love with people they love; they’re not looking to climb a ladder or get promoted as much as they want to be present in their lives. 

Neither situation is better or worse; there’s room for both! And at some point in our lives, we might fall more into one category than the other, but things might change as we get older. 


Here are some things to consider about the “living to work vs working to live” mentality. 


People who live to work find great joy in their occupation. They love what they do and, for them, going to their job in the morning is a pleasure and, therefore, they don’t consider it “work,” because it’s not something difficult or stressful. These people might relish new challenges because it’s the opportunity to deepen their skills and continue to grow professionally. They might thrive under pressure because it speaks to their inner drive and ambition, a deep-seeded desire to continue pushing their knowledge, abilities and aptitude toward the goal of being the best they can at what they do. These might be the kind of people who stay connected during vacations or long weekends because they’re invested in their projects and want to stay on top of everything. People who live to work might be passionate networkers, eager conference attendees and the first to volunteer to take on extra tasks when their team needs it. 

There might be negative connotations to this — that someone who lives to work might not have much of a personal life outside of work, or that their personal relationships are suffering from their workaholic nature. It might come across to some as a boring personality, with no other interest outside of their job, no hobbies to make them happy or activities that provide them joy. But to the people who live to work, their occupation is their joy and a predominant source of happiness. As with anyone else, it’s important to try and strike a balance and to surround themselves with people who love, support and understand their approach to life. 


People who work to live see their job as just that — it’s a job. It’s something they do because they need money to live. They might like their jobs just fine, but it’s something they need to have in order to support their passions. A well-paying job allows them the ability to go on vacation, or buy adult toys like motorcycles or kayaks or other things they use on their weekend adventures. Work isn’t the end-all, be-all in their lives; they’d rather be doing something fun or spending time with the people who matter to them. This might be viewed by some professionals and even managers as a lack of commitment and devotion, and in a way it is: it’s a choice to devote time to what matters to them rather than to a company. 

The potential downfall here is that people who work to live, or those perceived to have that mindset, might hold themselves back, because they’d rather stay where they are in their careers for fear of having to sacrifice some of that personal time in exchange for more responsibilities and more money. They don’t want to be chained to their laptops and phones on vacation and that might prevent them from taking the next step. People with this mindset might also compartmentalize their feelings and stay in a bad job, or one that makes them miserable for 40 hours each week, because it’s just a job and there might not be something else out there that pays the same or better where they’d be happier. 


You don’t have to be one or the other!

The ideal situation is to find a job that feels meaningful to you, that pays decently, where you’re respected and able to take opportunities as you desire, while also protecting and establishing a healthy work-life balance. You can set clear boundaries at work on when you can be reached after hours, when you’re willing to work overtime and when you need to adjust your schedule to tend to personal obligations. A healthy relationship with work can allow you to be someone who loves what you do while also thriving in your personal life. It’s not impossible! 

Working too much can lead to burnout; caring too little about work can lead to being the first out the door should financial difficulties strike a company. 

A balance between the two is achievable and is worth pursuing. Why not be happy at work AND happy at home? 

If you’re looking to make a change in order to seek that kind of balance, call Davis Staffing. We partner with great companies who are looking for candidates who want to do a good job and, in return, will be fairly compensated and respected when it’s time to leave for the day. Contact Davis Staffing today and let’s help you find a better work-life balance.