Originally Posted by skitlets
I start my first job out of college soon and the prospect of living to work depresses me. I don't understand how so many Americans do it. I envy some of the European countries, where they have tons more vacation time and life doesn't revolve around work.
It's even worse in Korea, alas, and in East Asia generally. Life is one long grind.
My perspective as a somewhat older guy is that even when you like what you do, it can get old because it becomes repetitive. There is a reason why we are paid to work, after all. I simply don't buy the "do what you love and the money will follow" line; many things that people love to do pay little or nothing, or constitute a "winner take all" market in which only a few talented and well-situated people actually make a living.
So: Find a kind of work you can tolerate reasonably well; change positions and/or companies every few years; and very importantly, carve out a large space outside work for your interests, civic involvements, friends, family. Do not vanish into your job as many do. If that means you do not become a Master of the Universe, accept that trade-off.