“I had the chance to take a job across the country. It was a better job, more money, more exposure, great city to live and work in. All opportunity. She told me she wasn’t coming. I went anyway. And for six months I was miserable. I had the time to realize what I wanted and what was important. And guess what? It wasn’t the job.”

This isn’t me, although it easily could be. It could be me, or you, man, woman, freshly-minted graduate or grizzled veteran, corporate-lifer or serial entrepreneur.

Sometimes the buzzer sounds and you realize you just lost.

My friend was lucky. Extremely lucky. He had inadvertently left enough of a breadcrumb trail to get back across the country and pick up his life almost exactly where he had left off. Got his old job back, got his wife back, even stayed in his house. There were costs, and they weren’t nominal. But he got it all back and then some.

He got a second chance and a new perspective. Which is priceless.

You don’t need me to tell you that you have to work to live and not live to work. There are a million and one platitudes that can say all that better than I can and they come in bite-sized nuggets you can frame for your office or cubicle wall.

This isn’t even about work/life balance. I’m not your mom.

This is about choosing to work, because it’s what pays the bills, whether you’re a CEO, a cubicle drone, a firefighter, or a rock star. And it’s about how your life should influence your job, and not the other way around.

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