Question of the Century

Do you live to work, or, work to live?

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Going into the field of medicine as a woman, this is a question I ask myself constantly. Do I want to practice a specialty where the schedules are more finite such as family medicine or dermatology, or, do I want the hectic, drop what you’re doing at any moment lifestyle, such as surgery? Which is healthier? Which will bring me the most joy?

Finding that healthy work-life balance is difficult, but necessary. Growing up around a work-oriented family, sometimes, I wanted to say, “Hold on people…slow down, don’t work as much, enjoy life outside of work, enjoy your children!” But then I realized that it was their calling in life and they all enjoyed what they did.

What I just described is my perspective, but another view is from the mother that is working 2+ jobs, trying to make ends meet. In this situation she has no choice in the matter. She must live to work to provide for herself and/or her children.

BUT, if you have the choice. What do you choose. To live to work, or, work to live?

Is it bad if you love your work as much, or, a close second to people in your life?

For women especially, this is a special challenge. Although the traditional roles of men and women are no longer what they used to be, women are still considered as the primary nurturers and caretakers of children. One of the main struggles that women face is when they want to have children and a career. When you ask how they are going to have a job that requires their attention 24.7 and take care of their kids, some feel forced to choose between what they love to do and who they love.

So again, here’s the question…Do I work to live, or live to work?

I think my answer comes down to the principle of – do what you love and love what you do. More importantly, be surrounded by the people you love, the ones that make you cry from laughter, and above all those that fully support your dreams.

Life is short with challenges and adversities that come whipping through like a hurricane without notice. I have learned to stay focused, enjoy the little moments and most importantly enjoy the people.

So my answer is – I work to live, because at the end of the day that job may always be there but the people around me may not. 

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