Work Interferes with Lifestyle

This is a guest post by Robert, who lives in Calgary and works as a financial advisor retired at 34. He is married, has three kids.  Robert and his wife then plan to return to school and become teachers, eventually living and working overseas.

I volunteer weekly at the YMCA. As I described in a previous post, I like to stay busy and feel like I’m contributing. As I chatted with the volunteer coordinator, she asked if I’m currently working. I told her I’m not and, in answer to a follow up question, that I’m not looking for work. This is the same woman who, when she accepted me to the volunteer position, didn’t think I looked old enough to have kids, guessing I was under 30.

I did offer, as an explanation, that I’m currently applying for a graduate program at the University, the Masters of Education. The volunteer coordinator offered that she would like to do something like that, but she has currently taken a part-time job. A friend of hers, who works in an office, knew that the office required more help and begged her to come in three days a week. But she’s finding that the three day per week office job is cutting into her workout routine and her volunteering.

Before, I would have considered her attitude to be a sign of laziness or the side effect of skewed priorities. Now, however, I find it easier to identify with her. In the last couple weeks, I have applied for a couple different jobs, when I stumbled across the opportunity and I felt I could learn something from the position. Two examples are a technical analysis investment research firm and the provincial securities regulator. In neither case did I receive an offer, but I was forced to think about what it would take for me to give up my lifestyle.

Presently, I don’t have to worry about work-life balance, because I don’t have a rigid work schedule. If I were to return to working for income, however, I would need to change my routine and give up some of my freedom. I believe that many workers accept less than ideal working conditions because they don’t have options and because they need income to survive. When I don’t need to meet those needs with a job, I become much more particular about the working environment and enjoyment I would receive from work (or volunteering), rather than the income or benefits.

I volunteer at the YMCA because the atmosphere is healthy and positive. I volunteer in my kids school so I can be with them and find out what they’re doing. What do you like about your work other than the pay? Where do you want to spend your time when you no longer need to work?

3 thoughts on “Work Interferes with Lifestyle”

  1. I would like to learn something more practical (to my lifestyle) than I am currently doing. I would like to learn a trade, something completely different than what I have been learning over the past decade or so between my undergrad and accounting post-graduate schooling.

  2. I’d like to take a few courses at the local university and college. It would seem like a total luxury to take a course just for the joy of learning something new, with no thought to how this will improve my resume, or if it will give me a marketable skill. At this point if I commit to a course it’s because I’m trying to get through the remaining credits required for my project management certification. In my retirement plans there is a specific budget line for courses. I also don’t want to worry about the cost of any courses or workshops I take.

  3. The title of your piece I can surely relate to. While I worked part-time for the last 7 years of my working career, I found it interfered with my growing personal life’s activities, even when I worked as little as 2 days a week.

    This week (12/5-12/9) in particular would have been impossible had I worked because I will be out Mon-Thurs nights as well as Mon-Wed during the day. But not working at all makes this all possible with only one small event conflict.

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