is retirement a bad idea?03 Dec 2016
i’m beginning to wonder if retirement is and was always a bad idea. reasons (bullet style because i haven’t organized the thoughts yet:
- doing meaningful work is one of the few things in life that consistently bring happiness
- given the above point, the narrative that people should only work up until a certain point (age? level of mental or physical ability?) and then they should be excused from the system is problematic. it frames work as something that is bad and needs to be escaped or given relief from. that made sense in a factory world where working literally shortened your life span… but the work world we’re moving towards is no longer like that (or at least it doesn’t have to be).
- most people that i know who are nearing retirement are struggling with it a lot. financially, i know many folks who can’t afford to retire. the cost of living is so high and their retirement payments are so low (often because of the jobs they chose in order to do meaningful and not soul-destroying work) that they won’t even even be close to living their current lifestyle. socially i know people who don’t want to be forgotten, by society or their families. working gives them a sense of purpose and community.
- it seems silly that we have a massive childcare industry (one that is unaffordable for many people) and all these senior citizens holed away in retirement communities. why not combine those two excess capacities (peers inc style)?
- even when people do retire, many folks i know are still doing meaningful work. my step-dad retired a while ago, but now he uses his time to enjoy his land, fish, and is also trying to grow 90% of his food. if growing almost all of your food isn’t work…
- there is so much knowledge and wisdom in folks who have lived a long time. sure, some of it may not be relevant anymore, but some of those hard-earned lessons are timeless. when we push older intelligence out of the workplace, we doom our organizations to repeat avoidable (already experienced) problems.
i wonder if reversing the narrative of retirement would create an opportunity to intervene in several socioeconomic problems at once… i’d be curious to talk to people who retired from shitty jobs and see what they’re up to now.
spell-check, link-finding, & formatting: 3:40