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by Mavis Hooi
For many young people reaching critical points in their careers, more often than not there is one vital question at the back of their minds: career or romance first?

Thoughts of, "If I don't snag him/her now, I'll be single for life!" or "I'd better pursue my career first, or I'll be left behind!" do play a rather significant role in helping people decide their priorities in life.

It may be true that some of you do not have to choose between love and your jobs. Or maybe you are able to balance both. Or perhaps you just know your personal priorities and will stick to them unswervingly. Whatever it is, there are many more who can't or won't, to a point where it may be unhealthy.

There are some very ambitious people who see a successful career as their top priority in life. While ambition is necessary to propel one's life to greater heights, there is such a thing as one's job taking up the biggest chunk of your time and attention. You risk being labelled an insatiable workaholic whose determination to reach the top overrides everything else. Your drive may even cause you to become more aggressive, ruthless and cold-hearted - rather undesirable characteristics, don't you agree?

And then there are those who are blissfully in love, who place their lovers at the centre of their universe. This is as bad as being wrapped up in one's career, because the lovesick tend to ignore everything and everyone else, being too absorbed in one's own little cavern of cosiness. Even if you are not as engrossed as that, you still are at peril of losing sight of the other aspects of life.

Both extremes will result in the same predicament: You will slowly lose your friends, alienating your family and finding nothing better to do with yourself when you've successfully completed that big project or when your partner has to be away from you for a while.

The point is, life IS about balance. Many analogies can be made about this human condition. For instance, our bodies need a variety of foods from all food groups to keep us healthy. Also, we must find time for work, leisure, love and even for ourselves. The question now is, how does one find balance?

by Mavis Hooi

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