The line between workaholism and ambition are sometimes blurred; most of us have to work to survive in this world, and some still struggle to make ends meet. This is especially true in the United States where a capitalist society creates a culture that forces its citizens to compete for jobs, salary, and benefits by rewarding working longer instead of better. Politics aside, it can be discouraging for a young adult in corporate America to discover that those who work 60+ hours per week instead of the “legally mandated” 40 hours are praised and recognized for essentially surrendering their lives to their companies.
I had a boss once tell me that “when you’re in your 20s you should be working as much as possible because well, you just can.” This reminded me of the age-old testament that just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should. He went on to say that I would be making a grave mistake by leaving my position at a company which monopolized my days, nights, weekends, and basically any free time I had.
I now work at a great company that has provided me with the flexibility to live the life that I want to live while having the financial resources to support myself. I can’t say that I love the work that I do, but developing a healthy work-life balance has allowed me to spend time outside of work nourishing my hobbies and interests. Will my decision to cut back on hours and leave a gigantic international company decrease my earning potential? Probably. But, I have decided that my life is so much more fulfilling when it is not only defined by a paycheck.