Life Style vs Work Style

Is our life defined by work or our work defined by our life?

Recently I have started a new job and already it has shaped my life to the point of no recognition.

I have long battled against the idea of being forced into things just because that is ‘the way we do it’. I have swung full circle and found myself working for a big multinational again.

I guess I have been trying to make my lifestyle do my work but now I find my work becoming my lifestyle.

The sacrifice is time and the reward is money but is it.

I am finding that there are very few things in life which I do on a regular basis which don’t have a ripple effect on the rest of my life.

I am very fortunate in many, many, many ways and I know this. I am not questioning that, what I am questioning is “what is it that we really sacrifice by our work?”


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  1. Work is a difficult issue for me. I see my work as part of my witness. It is something I try to do well and try to use to influence others in some way. I suppose the type of work you do can decide the way in which you influence. I am a school inspector and so I find that the decisions I make and the way I make them is important. I don’t go out to be a christian school insopector – I just try and do it well.

  2. My problem is: what about when you feel you *don’t* do your job well? I don’t get much feedback, and feel my output is mediocre most of the time…

  3. I read an article once which complained about how we think it’s so important to know what people do for a living (someone asked the author at a party ‘What do you do?’ and he said ‘I’m a writer’. ‘No – what drugs do you do?’ Easy mistake to make.)

    But in our society I think our work defines so much of our lifestyle that we can’t escape from its effects on who we are. It means that people have to go and live where they don’t want to, then sit in cars and trains for hours every day. It determines how we spend the best part of our energy and time, and what kind of people we spend it with. And if God put us here for a purpose, then the way we use our time and energy makes up who we are, in a sense.

    You realise how much a part of your identity it is, when you answer ‘I’m unemployed’. People need to know what you ‘were’ or ‘will be’ so they can understand you, and being ‘nothing’ makes you feel pointless. So it’s not surprising that choosing a career seems like such a deadly serious business. It means choosing your life, your identity.

    I think it’s significant that the best-selling job-hunting book, ‘What color is your parachute?’, is written by a Christian, who sees it as his calling to help other people find their Mission in life, their Purpose for being on earth. And he says most of the other leading careers guidance people were motivated by their belief in God.

    One big thing in his book is that we need to decide what we enjoy doing, work out how that can be used in a job, and then look for someone who’ll take us on – instead of keeping our options open so we can squeeze ourselves into the jobs that are advertised. Apparently that’s a much more successful approach to getting a job, let alone getting the job you want, and it sounds like it defines your work by your life/personality rather than the other way round.

    ~Wave~ do you feel you’re losing your true identity through your work? What do you feel you’re sacrificing? Just your spare time, or your morals, or what?

  4. I think that’s quite a common feeling, particularly in situations where people don’t give you regular feedback. I suppose we just have to learn to feel satisfied that we’re doing our best, and not worry about what other people think – if they want to tell us something, they need to tell us.

  5. Exactly, so why not give it up and do something else where you don’t consider the wage or pension but just whether it has a good output i.e. you feel like it has done something worthwhile? Will you still feel like a wraith?

  6. I couldn’t agree more. Work is difficult and it is impossibly difficult to get real feedback since the only feedback normally available is susceptible to personal opinions of those working to close to you to give a real objective viewpoint.

    The witness side of it is a dangerous route for me since where do you draw the line of doing a good job and where do you draw the line of being good in your job.

    I know that at the moment I’m not very good at my job, however I will gradually get better. Once I have got to a standard I will want to move on to another area where I’m not so good etc.

    I guess I’m saying that I rate good at a job as being able to cope with it while remaining true to yourself and not compromising your own self to the point of no recognition. Not just being good at your job.

    What I’m noticing is that I say things like I need to relax so I can work better tomorrow. Is this the most important thing? Is this a good witness or is this what we put first because ..…well there are a lot of other reasons.

    I realise I’m not saying much here I’m just rambling but it is nice to get it off my chest.

    Thanks for the reply

  7. ok

    I hear what you are saying – I think.

    But my problem is that I don’t know exactly who I am and finding a job which matches that is difficult. Plus I feel I will change in the future and so become someone different. So I am looking for a job which is me and also which can be me in the future.

    What do I feel I sacrifice – well everything and nothing. Job’s dictate so much I feel they influence everything and so nothing is left untouched. Even things like self esteem etc.

    I guess I don’t want my purpose in life to be just my job.
    thanks for the comments

  8. I think I would make my parachute Sky coloured and compare how realistic it was!

    I couldn’t agree more with what you write.
    I too look to help people form a mission in their lives.
    However finding your own mission is always the hardest and constantly changing. Especially for me since my perfect mission would have an element of mystery. I don’t want to know what is around the corner, I want to be able to let my life go where ‘the cloud goes’.

    I guess I see my life restricting the access God has in my life. I have most of my day planned and many of the weekends and so the input God has is now….well….scheduled for Sunday morning!

    I know that last statement is not entirely true but can you get the feel of what I’m saying. I want to allow God control of my life but realistically what does that mean? I feel I am putting God into a smaller and smaller box until I wake up one day and wonder where I put the box and have no idea what happened to the last 20 years where my life was essentially work. (Please take with a pinch of salt)

    So what do I sacrifice with my work – Me (everything)

    So is work what it is all about? Is that my mission? Should it be my mission?

  9. Family to support. And I’m struggling to know if I’d find any job worthwhile – going through something of a nihilist dark teatime…

  10. <>

    Maybe our time, or our initiative.

    And by initiative I mean not to say our voluntary attitude allowed in the working environment but more the inner child, play-like initiative that just wants to do things because it feels right, and not because one’s pay relies on it. I find it helpful that you bring up this subject of employment though, lets just say like you I too have come full circle with my views and deeds towards work with reservations.

    I agree with the poster who said that the work we do should not compromise our personal belief in ourselves beyond recognition and that we should be true. So I ask you and all; if you weren’t getting paid for the work you do, would you still do it?


  11. <>

    Id definately say in my case that ive found that life is defined by work, and that is why I look to the voluntary field for work.

    Perhaps because work like our lives is made up of our time.

  12. That reminds me of the discussion we had about a wasted life and a worthwhile life.

    That’s something I find difficult too – the unknowns – who am I? what will I be good at? where am I going? and what does God think is worthwhile anyway? It’s like we don’t find out till it’s happened.

  13. Talking of which, I saw something in the paper saying that about 30% of young people lose sleep worrying about the future. The people who lost least sleep were in their 50s. Not surprising really, seeing the vast unknown we’re facing with pensions, jobs, housing, the environment etc. etc.

  14. Now this is what life is about. You’re talking about making decisions which will influence others maybe in some negative ways in order to achieve a more positive thing for yourself.

    So where is the line for selfishness?

    Will you be a much better Parent if you were in a job which made you feel worthwhile….

    These are the questions which make life tough.

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