Gen Y: Live Your Life… Don’t Live Your Job

Career AdviceI’m particularly annoyed today. I’m working on an assignment for school. And you know what?? I would ALMOST prefer being pushed off my bed onto a floor full of Legos.

Almost. That sh*t would really hurt.

But ughhh I have to construct a career map.

Yep. I have to figure out what job I’d like to have in 5 years, 10 years, 25 years and so on. I really don’t want to do this.

I’m really getting tired of being bombarded constantly with this genius idea that the MOST IMPORTANT THING IN YOUR LIFE IS YOUR CAREER. That the job you have ultimately defines you. I hear things like this and I want to vomit.

A lot.

Because for me, the lifestyle I live is way more important than any particular job that I have. Now before you think I’m crazy, let me explain…

I think jobs are important. Very important. We need to eat, have money to put a roof over our heads, etc. Personally, jobs are important because without money I can’t travel the world and well, that’s kind of what I want to do. So I’m not in any way downplaying the importance of  jobs and careers.

What I AM saying is that not enough importance is being given to other aspects of life: Family, hobbies, traveling and friends. You know, the kinds of things that REALLY matter.

In regards to this issue, I’m particularly concerned about young people. For those of us in college or graduating college who are getting ready to jump into this new part of our lives, we’re constantly taught that our primary focus should be our careers. And as a result, what do we do? We listen!

We expend ALL our energy on building a career and sadly, we tend to forget about the other awesome parts of life. We get to be 30 years old and yea, we have a kick-ass career, but what about our friends? What about that family we always wanted? When was the last time we took a vacation?

We’re successful, yes, but in a very unbalanced way.

Now sure, some people ARE or WILL BE  perfectly content if all they have in their life is a job. That’s totally okay. But for those of us who desire to have MORE than just a career, we need to make sure the jobs we take allow us to have the kind of life we want to live.

Does that make any sense?

At this point in my life, I’m thinking about the things I want to have in the future. I want to do work that inspires me, work that I’m good at. At the same time, I want to be able to go home and have a life outside of it. At some point, I want to have a family. I want to have kids (even though the thought of them right now is a tad bit repulsive).

I want to have time to spend with my friends. I want to be able to take as much vacation as possible. I want to have time to read and write and watch terrible reality tv shows. Yes, that’s what I want.

So when I think of my career, I think about finding a way to have jobs that will allow me to do that. All of that. I don’t think that’s asking for too much.

The problem, though, seems to be the following:

There are a lot of people that want these things. There are a lot of people that want to have a life outside of work. But then, when it comes time to making decisions, the decisions they make don’t allow them to have that.

It’s really simple…

If you think about your job first, your lifestyle will naturally be shaped around your job. But if you do the opposite, if you take time to think about the kind of lifestyle you want to live and THEN focus on finding jobs that will allow you to have those things, well, you’ll be much more in control of achieving that lifestyle.

Look at the positions that you strive to get to. Now, look at the people that actually HAVE those positions. What’s their lifestyle like? If you’re comfortable with that kind of lifestyle and can accept that for yourself, then great! But if you want something different, it might be time to reconsider your career choices.

When I explain this thinking to some people, my ambition is often questioned. When I explain that I’d rather have an amazing life than an amazing job, people look at me like I’m crazy. But I don’t think that makes me crazy. And I certainly don’t think that makes me any less ambitious.

Perhaps it actually makes me MORE ambitious.

Because I want WAY MORE than a job that leaves me with no energy to enjoy life, and I’m determined to have that.





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Gen Y Girl!


Kayla-AuthorAbout the Author: Kayla Cruz graduated college at the age of 20 with a degree in Health Services Administration. She is currently working as a Regulatory Coordinator in Clinical Research while pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Administration specializing in Human Resources. She has found she’s most passionate about helping young professionals navigate through their first few years as GenYers in the workforce. Follow Kayla on Twitter!



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