Do You Work to Live or Live to Work?


“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
– Confucius

I wish Confucius could tell me how that works for multiple jobs you love. It’s hard work doing what you love when you’re a jack of all trades who can’t settle making a living off of one passion.

When I was on the verge of graduating with a Bachelors in Advertising, I visited a couple of big advertising agencies in Los Angeles. Up until then, I dreamed of working at a 500+ employee company. They had kitchens stocked with gourmet food, pet-friendly desks, fitness facilities, play rooms, etc. I’m sure the pay and benefits were just as great, too.

But my view changed entirely when one of the many Art Directors told me, “Here, you don’t work to live. You live to work.” She continued to inform me that they frequently worked late hours (sometimes past midnight), worked weekends often, and traveled unexpectedly. It all made sense now. All those awesome perks were so they could just live at work. They didn’t have to leave to live a life because that company was their life.

Don’t get me wrong, I love advertising. But I believe too much of a good thing is unhealthy. I didn’t want my job in advertising to be the only thing I did. To give an analogy, I love sandwiches but that doesn’t mean I want to eat sandwiches all day, everyday. (Although some people do.) I also like to eat pasta, steak, burritos, soup, salads, fruits, desserts, etc. I need to have a well-balanced diet.

I’ve had several conversations with advertising colleagues about this notion. The ones who were willing to work the grueling hours made the argument that it’s okay because they’re still young and have yet to settle down. But the way I see it, working those grueling hours would rob me of the opportunities youth gives me. This is the time to start doing what I want and experiencing the world. I suppose our definitions of “living life” are different.

Granted, the phrase “live to work” means having a job you are so passionate about that you look forward to working. But I don’t want to simply make a career out of one passion and have the rest just be hobbies. I want to make a living doing all the things I love.

Most people think I’m crazy or delusional for having that goal. Some even think that I’m not all that interested in advertising. But why should I be judged for not following society standards? I have been fortunate enough to surround myself with multi-talented individuals who share my view, personal struggles, and judgement from other people.

I have a friend who has a well-paying job as a web developer, keeps a music blog, does photography and video for rock concerts, and attends renowned skating events. She goes about each endeavor as something that could possibly be a means of income. Not just a hobby.

In addition to surrounding myself with like-minded people, I also look up to like-minded figures. Many actors not only act; They also direct, produce, sing, do philanthropic work, start businesses, etc. Look at visionaries like Walt Disney. He was not only a cartoonist; He was also a director, screenwriter, inventor, philanthropist, and business man.

If you haven’t noticed already, these multi-talented people have an overarching common thread in their jobs or have found a way to combine their unrelated passions together. That’s exactly what myself and my fellow multi-talented friends are doing.

This is by no means an easy feat. There are times when I get extremely exhausted spreading myself thin in balancing all that work and life. But you know what? I’m doing what I love, am financially stable, and am still finding time to live a life filled with travel, friends, family, shows, races, events, etc. Multi-talented individuals don’t just work to live or live to work. They do both!

About Ronnell Morris

Ronnell is the Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of NWYT. She is a copywriter by day, a performer by night, and a triathlete by weekend. She loves Disney, musicals, eating, YouTube videos, list-making, and the colors pink and gray too much for her own good. See All of Ronnell’s Posts

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