When should I think about retirement?
At the turn of the 20th century, 75% of the people over the age of 65 were deceased. At the turn of the 21st century, 75% of the people over the age of 65 were alive. So, what does this all mean for retirement? Is it time to retire the word retirement? At the turn of the 20th century most individuals had little to no formal career education. At the turn of the 21st century we had moved from little formal education, to a standard of formal education, get a job, and then retire. However, today we are looking at a standard of education, job, stop out, get more education, change careers and on and on. According to the US Department of Labor, “the average person will change careers 5-7 times during their working life. Approximately 30% of the total workforce will now change jobs every 12 months.”
Today, the focus for many has changed from dreaming of retiring to being more present in their work life and thinking about wanting more work flexibility, more satisfaction at work, to wanting a better work-life balance.
Perhaps the message of today’s blog is to think about work in a different way. Let me site a real-life example that helped me change my perspective. I once worked as a consulting therapist for a regional organization that worked with companies who were laying workers off. Some of the workers would work with me to assist them to analyze their present focus for a job and assess if they could go in a different direction. I had a meeting with one of the workers who worked for his present company for over 23 years. I asked how he felt when he heard the news that he was going to be “let-go” and he said, “Relieved.“ He further went on to explain that he hated everyday of work for the past 23 years. When asked why he did it, he stated that he had to do it to make money for his family. He felt trapped and thought he could do nothing else. I recall that he did get another job, in a different career, and really enjoyed what he was doing. He actually sent me a note a year later on the anniversary of being, “let-go” and it said, “Liberation Day!”
While there are major shifts in process that many companies are undertaking to assist with work-life balance, we are focusing on what we as individuals can undertake. Rather than looking forward to retirement and all that we anticipate it promises, we may want to refocus on what we can do now to reach a more satisfying work life balance.
Ideas for a better work life balance
Make time in your schedule for personal/family time.
Make realistic to-do lists and follow them.
Block out distractions while working and stay focused.
Find a mentor or career coach for insights and wisdom.
Set work-life boundaries and communicate them to family and colleagues.
Ask for assistance when needed.
Develop trusting quality work relationships.
Prioritize tasks and work on the most difficult first.
Plan days off and vacations in advance as something to look forward to.
Take as good care of your body as you do your car…it is your life’s vehicle.
Explore companies that take work life balance seriously.
While different positions may offer different opportunities for implementing various work-life strategies, it is important to begin with a mindset that keeps us focused on our quest for a more satisfying life.
Work is like water, if you do not contain it, it goes everywhere.
Work life balance is a choice.
Don’t wait until retirement to enjoy your life.
Take it slowly.
Remember what you eat, helps you think.
Associate with others who practice work-life balance.
Things to Limit
Feeling backed into a corner.
Always saying yes.
Justifying work exhaustion.
Quote of the Week
“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”
~ Dolly Parton
Hopefully, the idea of waiting to enjoy life, retirement, becomes retired, as more and more individuals and companies understand how having work life balance can enhance life enhancement, productivity, and overall job satisfaction.
Photo Pateek Katyal on Unsplash
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The paraDocs are Dr. Francis L. Battisti, PhD, Psychotherapist, Distinguished Psychology Professor and former Executive V.P and Chief Academic Officer and Dr. Helen E. Battisti PhD, RDN, CDN, Chief Nutrition Officer, at SpNOD, Health Promotion Specialist, Research and Clinical Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and former Assistant Professor.
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