What do you do for living? Have you ever been asked that question? If so, how did you respond? Did you provide the typical response that is given when asked such a question? Did you tell them where you work, what your job title is, and/or what your job duties and responsibilities are?
Over the last eighteen months, since losing my job and being unable to find work in the fields that I have a compassion for and experience in, I have been asked this question several times. Recently, after being asked this question again, I began really thinking about it. I asked myself, what do I do for a living. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that if I am ever asked this question again, my response would be somewhat like this:
“What do I do for living you ask? While I need to work to pay my bills, put food in my mouth, have clothes on my back and keep a roof over my head, when it comes down to it that’s not what I do for a living. What I do for a living is enjoy life. I take pleasure in the things that make me happy. What makes me happy?
- Spending time with my family;
- Exercising my faith through my church attendance and service to others;
- Finding ways to utilize the creative talents I possess through my writing, singing, artwork, photography, etc.;
- Doing the things that I like to do such as hiking, watching a good movie or TV show, listening to music, playing games, etc.; and
- Taking it easy and ensuring I get the needed relaxation.
That is what I do for a living. Do I need to work? Yes, but ultimately, I work to live the life I love. I don’t live to work.”
I remember when I was a young teenager just entering the workforce and someone telling me to make sure I “keep my professional life separate from my personal life”. As I have grown, both professionally and personally, I have come to the conclusion that that statement is the worst piece of advice someone has ever given me.
Should you strive to avoid allowing your personal problems impact your ability to fulfill your professional duties and responsibilities? Yes, but you cannot completely separate your professional life from your personal life; the two are interconnected. You work to live. You work so that in your personal life you can have the things you need, and you can do and experience the things you love. On the flip side, if you do not spend time doing the things you love and that make you happy, then it is likely to have a negative impact on your professional life. This is where work life balance becomes important.
There are numerous resources available for information regarding work life balance and how to apply it in one’s life so I am not going to discuss it here. Just remember…it’s important to find that right balance. If you are struggling, feeling overwhelmed in your professional life, then you may need to ask yourself: What am I really focused on? What makes me happy? What do I really do for a living?