Live to work? Or work to live?

Years ago, while working at KSMO-TV 62, I learned one of the greatest lessons of my life. I was very career-driven, on my way up to a manager position. Or so I thought.

During my tenure at the station, there was an engineer there who once told me that you don’t live to work, you work to live.

I told him that I got what he meant, of course, but I didn’t. Not really. Oh, it made logical sense to me. Life shouldn’t be about just work. There were all those other things out there too. You can know something in your head, but not in your heart.

At one point in my tenure there, my boss was fired. The other girl in the department quit. It was just me to cover the entire traffic department. Corporate, at least, sent a lady to help train a person for one of the three jobs, but that still left me with two. It was a hard challenge, leading me to work 11-hour days and coming in on weekends. I was told at one point that I was going to be the next traffic manager, and by golly, my hard work and dedication would cement the deal!

Sometimes, I think the universe has a wicked sense of humor. The joke was on me, of course. You see, all of my hard work and dedication resulted in someone that I trained being promoted over me, even though I was the only one in the department who knew every job. All I got out of the deal was a minor pay raise, a nifty new title, and new business cards.

To say I was devastated would be an understatement. I was professional, of course. I handled the situation with grace and dignity. I would lie if I said it didn’t hurt just a little still.

During that time, I missed out on a few developmental milestones with my toddler son. I messed up. I put everything into my career, and got nothing for it. I wasn’t focusing on what was important.

Now I get it. Now I understood what that old engineer was talking about.

Life isn’t just about work. It’s not about that climb to management. There is so much more to life. You see, had I become the traffic manager, I would have missed out on a lot. I would not have become a freelance writer, or even gone back to school.

Don’t get me wrong. Work is important. Absolutely. When I’m there, I give it my all, and I do all I can to improve my craft. Yet one must maintain a balance with your life outside of work. There are things you can miss. One of them might even be an opportunity.