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When we talk about things like work/life balance or work vs play, we immediately assume that the two things are opposed and competing. This is a huge problem, firstly, because it means that it’s pretty well accepted that you hate your job but stick to it because it funds your lifestyle and, secondly, because life doesn’t have to be like that at all.
When you change your perspective and begin to think of work as a part of your life, and not an inconvenience you have to put up with, you give yourself a chance to push for something more compelling and more fun. If you’re not convinced here are two stats to change your mind: American spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime and yet, 87% of Americans have no passion for their jobs.
Convinced now? Here’s what you should do.
Make Contacts Wherever You Go
If you want to improve your social life and your work life, building your contacts is essential. Now, how you do this is up to you but it’s a good idea to go to a mix of different sorts of events. Meeting friends of friends is a good way to broaden your social group but going to events for people with similar interests or networking events for more industry-specific stuff is a good idea too.
Building your contacts is especially important if you want to move up the job ladder without sending a million applications out. Executive search often comes down to who you know and how much they rate you, and not who is lucky enough to see the ad online.
Follow All Your Interests
Your career probably comes with a few prerequisite skills and if you are going down a particular niche pathway, you could be forgiven for focusing on building those skills and nothing else. But increasingly, life isn’t like that. Our jobs tend not to last our entire career and you could go through a wide range of roles and industries in your working life.
If you want to enrich your career and your life, a better approach is to follow your interests. Sure, flower-arranging or tinkering with an old motor might not have anything to do with your job in IT but both hobbies could lead you elsewhere. Plenty of people get into jobs by accidentally becoming an expert in a hobby or interest. You’ll only get there if you pursue your interests first.
Be Determined But Flexible When Setting Your Goals
Life goal setting is difficult because what you want to achieve isn’t often a concrete thing but a more complex idea. For example, everyone wants to be happy and that’s a worthwhile goal. But how on earth are you going to achieve ‘happy’?
Having big, undefined goals is actually a good thing as long as you can identify achievable, smaller goals along the way. Setting smaller goals will help you see your progress but they can also be more flexible and change as new opportunities present themselves.
There’s no one way to live your life but once you allow yourself to broaden your horizons, you’ll find that more good things come your way.