How much of the reason you work is because you want to set an example for your baby one day?

 We share some DNA. Work ethic? TBD.

We share some DNA. Work ethic? TBD.

This was always one of my default "why I work" reasons (aside from, you know, the paycheck and the free Keurig coffee). It reassured me, as I kissed my baby goodbye in the morning, to think: He'll do this himself one day. He'll see that hard work is good and worthwhile and fulfilling. I still believe all of that setting-a-good-example stuff, but my friend Allison—one of the hardest working and most fulfilled workers I know—made me do a bit of a re-think. I was reading back through the transcript of my interview with her for the book. Listen to this bit:

Lauren: What about the example that your working sets for your boys?
Allison: But I don't work because of the example it sets for my boys.
Lauren: Wait, really?
Allison: I don't think it sets any different an example whether you work or stay home. I work because it makes me happier every day. I think once you wrestle with that and make that realization and get comfortable with it, it is no longer a choice. I am a much happier person because I have the intellectual challenge of work. I know that this is the right choice for me. I have no idea if it's better for society, or better for kids, to have mothers who work full-time. But I know it's better for me, and for my family. We are all much happier because I work.

Huh. That was eye-opening to me. I think we're both right, actually. Like Allison, I work because it makes me happy and fulfilled. And that's the example I want to set for my children: Do the thing—even if it's hard—that makes you happy and fulfilled. Do the thing that makes you feel like your life is being used well.