Working Past Retirement

It makes perfect sense to keep working past retirement – be it part-time or full time. It keeps you busy and purposeful. You stay mentally and physically engaged

There was a time when there was no restriction whatsoever when to start working (engagement in activities in return for compensation) and at what age to stop. Because of exploitation of the human body by both the employers and the individual, labour legislations were introduced and the working life spans were defined by competent authorities. These were useful in checking child labour and stopping people dying in the saddle. Along with the legislations came the provision for “work pensions” on retirement, although the Government here provides for a universal pension (Basic Retirement Pension) to everyone reaching the age of 60. Though there is considerable reduction in income upon retirement, the pension arrangements offer a lifeline to the retiree. The more so when the retiree judiciously places his lump sum into a monthly interest generating scheme in reliable institutions (banks, Mutual Aid Association and the like). However, the impact of retirement is not financial only. It saps the morale, bumpy in a way as the retiree wrestles with his new identity as pensioner and tries to build up new relationships. A new after-work journey starts. This transitioning to retirement is smoother in the beginning when the retiree tries to spend the days doing things which he always wanted to do and could not do earlier – like long walks, visiting places , spending time with family, kids and friends, reading, writing and even doing such domestic chores that ruffle relationships and drive the spouse (wife particularly) crazy. The psychological adjustment appears tough and the retiree struggles to restructure his life, letting go of a big part of his identity as an employed person when he was an achievement-oriented worker, enjoying every bit of progress in his work… And as retiree he has a void, an empty calendar and a silent alarm clock.  Sorting out the thoughts and feelings he moves forward to another tenancy – he was a tenant in a organisational structure working Monday to Friday. He looks for a work past retirement and embraces an encore career. Work defines who you are. The retiree repurposes his skills, learns new technologies and finds new work and vocation – to mentor others, provide consultancy services, social services, turning politician and performing other odd jobs like security guard, health care. He regains the dignity and respect. At a time when more than 15 % of the population are above 60 and life expectancy has gone up, people are healthier and working past retirement is becoming a norm. Both men and women want to work past retirement, the reasons being that they like to work and can work. At times financial obligations require retirees to continue work. Nevertheless there are people who do not want to continue working. Physical labour, absence of part-time work, absence of work at home, poor environment, health conditions are some other reasons advanced by people not willing to work past retirement. But the end word is that it makes perfect sense to keep working past retirement – be it part-time or full time. It keeps you busy and purposeful. You stay mentally and physically engaged. It is rewarding both financially and personally.

* Published in print edition on 28 September 2018

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