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Do you Work to Live, or Live to Work? -That is the Question

Updated on February 11, 2012
Day care - Not happy
Day care - Not happy

Do you ‘Work to Live’ or ‘Live to Work?’

By Tony DeLorger © 2011

With the constant stress and pressure of modern life we find ourselves constantly adapting to an ever-changing world. Reasons like the cost of living, housing, healthcare and education are why we have to work harder, longer and sacrifice much of our time to survive and keep our families, safe, healthy and happy. But at what point does our efforts to maintain overcome our need to be and share with our family.

Many years ago my then wife and I agreed there would always be one parent home when the kids returned from their school-day. Regardless of the loss of income and lost opportunities to buy property, we stuck to that ideal and have never regretted it. I’ve had five kids and all of them benefited from constant supervision and a solid, approachable role model. I now have grandchildren and I’m extremely proud of all my kids, all of which are open and can discuss anything with their parents.

Had we gone down the other track and worked laboriously in careers that would have financially changed our lives, how that would have changed our children’s upbringing and their eventual adulthood, is in question. It is an interesting question isn’t it?

In my case I considered and discussed this issue before the event and we made a decision based on what was best for our children. The problem these days, as I see it, is this question is never considered and parents often follow their careers with little consideration for how it affects their family and children. Sure, we have to work to earn money and maintain a lifestyle for our families, but where do you draw the line?

Children these days as young as months old are shoved into day care situations while both parents work long hours to pay their mortgages and for an often unnecessary lifestyle. We want the best life for us and our family, but again how far do you go.

The most important time in a babies life is in the first year, both bonding with parents and siblings and learning so much about the environment around them. So many children are brought up without this connection, their days fragmented by travel, different carers and an ever-changing environment. Will this disconnection in the early months and years of life affect developing personalities, self-esteem and confidence? It’s worth thinking about.

The problem is of course not a clear-cut one; we do have to earn money and these days that requires more time commitment than it used to. We want the best for our kids, and having a nice home, quality clothes, toys and all the advantages of living in the 21st century is important. What I am questioning is whether our kids are being disadvantaged emotionally by our standards of living and amassing possessions and wealth.

When I was a child it was instilled in me to work hard, get a profession and have a good work ethic. In the end it took me nearly fifty years to find my calling as a writer; not what my mother would have wanted. But during my fifty-odd years I have discovered many aspects of life far more important to me that accumulating wealth. Those principles I have passed on to my children best I can and it has and continues to pay off. I think the answer to my question is one of balance. But to seek and find balance one has to address the question. It is my feeling that many people are not doing that, but simply pursuing the end of the rainbow rather than noticing the rainbow.

So, do you work to live, or live to work?


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    • Tony DeLorger profile image

      Tony DeLorger 6 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Always appreciate your comments. Thanks Sem.

    • Sembj profile image

      Sembj 6 years ago

      Tony - Well done on another fine piece of work as well as achieving more wisdom than most of us over the years. It does seem all to be a bit of a balancing act over the last few decades as unprecedented wealth has given most of us more options than any previous generations. It's a pity that many discover that if material wealth is the chief objective, they can never have enough of it. There is something just a little obscene that so many bogus arguments were launched to justify keeping Bush's tax-cuts for the very wealthy. I'm sure that those extra dollars don't really buy any happiness except for any satisfaction there's to be derived in shifting even more of the burden onto the poor.