When it comes to retirement, you have almost endless options in front of you. In a sense, it’s as you discard options that you begin to focus on what you will do and who you will be—or become. One of the options could be to continue to work where you are now.
There’s more evidence of growth in the number of those returning to the workforce after retirement. Recent research shows that up to a quarter of retired Britons are ‘unretiring’ (their word) and going back into the workforce.
In their book, Ikigai, Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles reveal that the Japanese don’t have a word for ‘leaving the workforce for good’ (retirement). In fact, ‘having a purpose for life is so important in Japanese culture that our idea of retirement simply doesn’t exist.’
Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott don’t call it crazy, but compared to what we have now the retirement they see coming seems at least strange. Gratton and Scott are both professors at the London Business School and, in their book The 100-Year Life, they suggest that we need to prepare for exactly that—a 100-year-long life.
Joe Bartley of Devon (UK) was retired, but found himself ‘dying of boredom’. Aged 89, he had been fine until his wife died a couple of years back. He decided to look for a job.
You often hear statements such as ‘80 is the new 60’; or, ‘60 is the new 40’. But how do these sentiments transfer to the workforce? Not very well it seems.
Almost 20 per cent of over-65s are still working full time or part time in the United States—that’s the highest level for more than 50 years, since 1962. And it’s financially driven, says Jean Setzfand, senior vice-president of AARP, the organisation that did the study.
Individuals who voluntarily change jobs between the ages of 50 and 60 are more likely to be still working at 65 and 67 than those who stay in the job they have at 50. And, says the report, it doesn’t matter if the job they changed to was better or worse than the one they left. They still worked longer.
Work plays a huge role in our daily life, and the loss of the ‘substance and challenge of work’; the relationship with colleagues; the place to go to work; and the daily routines can ‘leave a gaping hole, causing people to wonder, with so much new-found spare time, whether they matter anymore’.