Why some people want to retire and others want to keep working – Press Telegram

Q. I’m in my late 60s and still working while most of my friends are happily retired. My job as an educator has never been more than a job: it’s a crusade and a passion that has not at all waned over time. My career has focused on touching the future, working with and through teachers and students. I continue to be motivated and blessed with the support and health to sustain me in local civic activities as well as in my profession. Am I wired differently? And is the type of work a factor in the decision to “not retire?” » DN

Dear DN,

Feeling passionate about your work is a singular and sufficient reason to keep working. Whether this motivation is related to specific types of work or occupations is another question.

A few observations may help provide answers. Those in physically demanding jobs are generally less likely to continue working in the same job for 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 decline with habitual aging. (Note: There are things we can do that can slow this process down.) And due to age-related changes, these workers may not be able to perform optimally and subsequently become at risk for injury. which makes them less likely to stay in their same position during traditional retirement. years. However, they can move on to another type of work or become self-employed.

Those in white-collar jobs are more likely to continue. Their work is less likely to create physical wear and tear compared to physically demanding jobs. Additionally, many white-collar positions require reading, writing, and reasoning abilities and skills. These typically decline later in the life cycle relative to the abilities required in physically demanding positions.

DN, you are not the only ones who want to continue working. According to a Transamerica Center Studyamong millennials, the youngest generation in today’s workforce, nearly half plan to continue working to some extent after retirement. The reason? They want to stay involved in their passions and their community.

Back to the original question of are you wired differently? Yes, since most people are retiring. If we’re lucky enough to find a job that’s fulfilling, that gives a reason to wake up every morning, and that stimulates our mind, heart, and soul, we’ve found a gift. Sigmund Freud wrote, “Love and work…work and love is all there is.” (Note: “silent dropouts” who chose to do the bare minimum of work may disagree with Freud. This group constitutes more than a third of today’s workforce.)

As for the question whether working in the retirement years is related to the type of work, the answer is yes.

Yes, impactful work can encourage a person to keep working, especially when making a difference in areas such as science, arts, business, journalism, fashion, technology, and public service. Here are some examples: Norman Lear, writer and television and film producer has 23 projects in the works at 99 years old. Warren Buffet, 92, is CEO and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. Then there’s Iris Apfel, a fashion icon known for her chunky dark glasses and many necklaces who graced the cover of Harper’s Bazaar magazine for his 100th birthday.

OK, maybe these are extreme examples. However, they serve as role models of highly motivated individuals working on what they love to do later in life with the aspiration to make a difference. (And if we are looking for a specific consistent industry in which workers usually stay at workit would be fshipowners, breeders and agricultural managers with a median age of 56.8 years.)

What is important is the value workers place on their work. I remember talking to cleaners at two universities. They liked their work – in part because of the prestige of the institution and their interaction with the students. They were eager to continue working. Of course, their salary probably played a role in their decision. Admittedly, this is a small sample, but an indicator of the importance of the perceived value and self-satisfaction of one’s work and its relationship to the continuation of one’s work.

Finally, from my perspective, being different and wired differently is a hallmark of game changers. They are forward-thinking individuals who are innovative with ability, passion, and commitment to the common good. They do the work.

So continue DN and don’t change. Best wishes for your continued mission to make a difference in education and a better world. Stay well and know that kindness is everything.

Helen Dennis is a nationally recognized leader on aging and new retirement issues with academic, corporate, and nonprofit experience. Contact Helen with your questions and comments at [email protected]. Visit Helen at HelenMdennis.com and follow her at facebook.com/SuccessfulAgingCommunity

Luz W. German