Think about it. Which one describes you?
You “work to live” if your job is a means to provide for the other parts of your life, such as having an awesome social life, acquiring desired possessions, traveling, caring for your family, etc.
These people typically have very stable, well-paying, 9-to-5 jobs. I have friends with children who work primarily to care for their families, and others who work to go out to eat and drink five nights a week. I’d say a lot of accountants work to live (my accountant friends – I’ve heard your complaints, don’t fight me on this) as do others in very traditional industries such as CPG and manufacturing. You can definitely like your job but it isn’t what drives you in life.
You “live to work” if you are super-motivated at your job, proactively look for problems to solve, and are willing to sacrifice, whether it’s money, stability, a social life, whatever, to pursue a career that you truly love.
I’d say that most entrepreneurs embody the “live to work” principle, typically sacrificing job stability and a social life to build something they are passionate about. Many who work in the sports and entertainment industries live to work as well, typically forgoing a larger salary in other more lucrative industries to work with more exciting subject matter. Writers and journalists may also fall into this bucket. I’m sure I’m leaving many other jobs and industries out, so please comment to include yours.
One camp isn’t better than the other, and there are definitely pros, cons, and sacrifices made by people in both segments; it all depends on life’s priorities.
So do you work to live or live to work?