Q. I’m in my late 60s and continue to work while most of my friends are happily retired. My job as an educator has never been just a job: it is a crusade and a passion that has not waned over time. My career has focused on touching the future, working with and through teachers and students. I remain motivated and fortunate to have the support and health to support me in local civic activities as well as in my career. Am I wired differently? And does the type of work play a role in the decision not to retire? DN
Passion for your work is a unique and sufficient reason to keep working. Whether this motivation is related to certain forms of work or professions is another question.
A few observations may help lead to some answers. People in physically demanding jobs are usually less likely to continue working in the same job, and with good reason. These jobs may require standing 40 hours a week or working in extreme environments such as hot warehouses. We also know that physically demanding jobs often require strength, flexibility and reaction time; all decrease with usual aging. (Note: there are things we can do that can slow this process.) And due to age-related changes, these workers may not be able to perform at their best and may subsequently be at risk of injury, making them less likely to lose their Maintaining position during traditional retirement years. However, you can move on to another type of work or become self-employed.
Those in white-collar jobs are more likely to continue. Your work is likely to cause less physical wear and tear compared to physically demanding jobs. In addition, many white-collar positions require reading, writing, and reasoning skills and abilities. These typically decline later in the life cycle compared to skills required in physically demanding positions.
DN, yThey’re not the only ones who want to keep working. according to a Study by the Transamerica Centeramong millennials, the youngest generation in today’s workforce, Almost half plan to continue working in some capacity after retirement. The reason? They want to be a part of their passions and their community.
Coming back to the original question, are you wired differently? Yes, as most people retire. If we are fortunate enough to find work that is fulfilling, that provides a reason to wake up each morning, and that stimulates our mind, heart and soul, we have found a gift. Sigmund Freud wrote, “Love and work… Work and love, that’s all there is.” (Note: “silent quitters” who chose to do the bare minimum of work might not agree with Freud. This group accounts for over a third of today’s workforce.)
When asked whether post-retirement employment is related to the type of employment, the answer is yes.
Yes, impactful work can encourage a person to keep working, especially when making a difference in fields like science, art, business, journalism, fashion, technology, and public service. Here are some examples: Norman Lear, The TV and film writer and producer has 23 projects in the works at the age of 99. Warren Buffet is CEO and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. at the age of 92. Then there’s Iris Apfel, a fashion icon known for her big black glasses and multiple necklaces, and on the cover of Harper’s magazine for her 100th birthday Bazaar was.
OK, these may be extreme examples. However, they serve as role models for highly motivated individuals who work on what they love to do later in life, with the drive to make a difference. (And if we look for a consistent specific industry where workers usually stay in the jobthat would be farmorers, ranchers, and agricultural managers with an average age of 56.8 years.)
The value is important Employees rely on their jobs. I remember talking to maintenance workers at two universities. They loved their work – partly because of the prestige of the institution and their interaction with the students. They really wanted to keep working. Of course, her salary likely played a role in her decision. Admittedly, this is a small sample, but an indicator of the importance of perceived value and complacency in one’s work and its relationship to continuing the job.
In conclusion, in my view, being different and wiring differently is a trait of game changers. These are forward-thinking personalities who innovate with skill, passion and commitment to the common good. You do the work.
So go ahead and don’t change DN. Best wishes on your continued mission to make a difference in education and make the world a better place. Stay healthy and know that kindness is everything.
Helen Dennis is a nationally recognized leader on aging and the new retirement with academic, corporate and community experience. Contact Helen with your questions and comments at [email protected]. Visit Helen at HelenMdennis.com and follow her at facebook.com/SuccessfulAgingCommunity