Work

Keep up the good work

You may recall that I hadn’t originally planned to write about work within Age Life Balance, but was encouraged to reconsider following some feedback and survey responses. When I was thinking about ageing myself, I was imagining a time beyond work (if you recall in my intro).  However, work currently occupies a big part of so many of our lives and will probably continue to do so in the future. Questions around alternative forms of work and ultimately retiring or are also worth considering. Many of us regard ourselves as working, without being in a formal job.

As demographic trends show that we are living longer lives, the number of years spent working is also likely to increase. Indeed, the retirement age in many westernised countries is currently being revised upwards. This is in part due to people living longer and often healthier lives, as well as having limited financial provisions, and the pension gaps exacerbated by both of these.

Types of work

My definition of work is wide and inclusive, to accommodate many different and valuable types of work, including employed, self-employed, homeworkers, homemakers, carer or business owners, to name a few. We may follow one of these throughout or flex between these at different points of our lives.

Some of us retain our original line of work from start to finish, often adapting and evolving along the way, but a ‘job for life’ is deemed rare these days. With the extension of working lives, many of us may opt to retrain for a second career or even evolve our work into a portfolio career , by filling our lives with a number of paid and/or unpaid roles.

Motivation

We ultimately work for many different reasons, including a combination of financial security, personal fulfilment and social interaction. Motivations often evolve during the course of our lives, and from an Age Life Balance perspective I’m more interested in what keeps us working, rather than our initial motivations.

Financial

We can’t ignore it – some of us continue working for financial reasons. The trend of taking ‘early retirement’ as enjoyed by many Baby Boomers over the past twenty years is set to decrease as some of us struggle to pay for our current lives, let alone set aside enough for a comfortable retirement. Depending on our working arrangements, there may be other financial benefits in terms of employer pension contributions, health and life insurance as well as company share options waiting to vest at some future point. All these reasons make remaining in work financially attractive.

Fulfilment

Some of us enjoy working or simply love what we do. If you are one of these, then I suggest you carry on! A sense of purpose is a key factor on keeping people youthful. This may apply to those who are experts in our fields, or who haven’t yet realised our ultimate dreams or goals. Others may be driven by a sense of responsibility or accountability, that we’re not yet willing to relinquish.

Social interaction

Many of us enjoy the social interaction we get from work – even if we don’t always see eye to eye with everyone! Some of us form close working relationships and friendships with colleagues, customers and other associates. It often helps give us a role or standing in society that may otherwise be harder to build or maintain, especially as we get older. Mixing with a range of ages and types of people can also help to maintain youthfulness for longer as we get to hear about and experience the latest trends and developments etc.

Discrimination

I’d also like to examine the topic of age discrimination and how this may impact our decisions to either remain in work or finding new work over a certain age. Some employers are now positively opting for older workers e.g. B&Q and Tesco, which is certainly a step in the right direction. There is also a new UK government strategy which launched earlier in the year that aims to support this. I am optimistic that this will continue to improve in the future as governments and employers acknowledge the need for and the benefits of such policy change.

When to stop?

Finally, I intend to look at reasons why we stop working or retire, whether through health concerns, redundancy, caring responsibilities or simply by reaching our own ‘retirement age’ goal. It will be interesting to hear some stories about the transition into the next life phase and what we can learn about making the most of this time, and helping to avoid any pitfalls and challenges.

 

Thank you for reading. For more interesting articles, visit my blog at www.agelifebalance.com to learn more.