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Live to Work or Work to Live? That is the Question

You’re dedicated to your career. You always give 110 percent. You work long hours, make countless sacrifices for the job and earn good money. What about the rest of your life? Are you working so much that you don’t have a life? It’s a tough balancing act—giving the same energy to both your work and personal life. You can achieve balance if you know which questions to ask and where to go for answers but you need a plan.

Adjust Your Perspective
Remember: it’s just a job. Achieving success in your career enables you to live your life to the fullest, not the other way around. Doing a good job at work while creating a valuable life outside work is worth the effort. Here are some tips for balancing the work/life scales.

Set Priorities
Ask yourself some tough questions:
  • What’s most important to me: family, friends, work, or myself?
  • What am I good at?
  • Am I heading in the right direction?
  • Is my job helping me reach my goals?
If you discover that your priorities are out of whack, it’s time to bring them back into alignment. Take an inventory of your life. Answer this work/life balance poll to get started.

Test Yourself

Does your personality match your job? If you thrive on stress, then a high-pressure job is just right for you. But what if the demands of your job are at odds with your personality? Take an online personality test to find out. If you’re in the middle of a job search right now, remember to look beyond the job title. Find out how the job is really done—the work environment, the hours, the stress level—before making a move. If the job involves travel, ask yourself how that would fit into your lifestyle.

Think Creatively
After 11 years with the same company, sales executive Louise Griffin realized that work was taking over her life. She began a job search outside the company only to find lower pay, fewer benefits, and even more demanding jobs. Louise knew that leaving the company wouldn’t be worth it, but she was still unhappy with her job.

That’s when she got an idea: "I searched online for any job that looked interesting. I put those ideas together with my own skills and experience to create new job possibilities. That led me to think creatively about taking a different job within my own company." A few months later, Louise moved to a less stressful job at the same company, kept her salary and benefits, and found time to pursue outside interests.

Read about another creative thinker who successfully balanced work and life by changing the rules of the game.

Survey Your Career Personality

What if you know what kind of job you want but can’t find anyone to pay you for it? Maybe you should think about consulting. Take an online career survey to find out.

Hire a Coach

If you’re willing to pay for it, a career coach offers personalized help. Take a look at what a sample career coach has to offer, then search for your nearest certified career coach to start moving in the right direction. A better, more balanced career awaits!

About the Author
Freelance writer Vicki Moulton, a 15-year resident of the Washington, DC, area, gained experience from a variety of industries--from nonprofit to high-tech to government contracting and everything in between.


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