The Value of Work

Robert Kaufman and Carol Bratter co-authored this post.

Most EIM members have a laser focus on their career success.  However, there comes a time when a member will begin thinking about working less or retiring all together.  This blog entry is meant for any member who wants to begin thinking about retirement or semi-retirement.

It is important to understand what we get from work in addition to money.  A partial list includes:

  • A basis for personal identity
  • A basis for our sense of worth in the world
  • A way of structuring or spending time
  • An arena for making friends and socializing
  • A source of new experiences, creativity and self-expression
  • A means to prestige and recognition
  • An opportunity to be of service to others

We live in a world where people are living longer and a great many are planning, for various reasons, to work longer.  The traditional standard of using a certain age to decide when it is time to leave the job, or “retire” is fading.

Executives Career Assessment and Planning for the Future

While a few enlightened companies are retaining valued older employees, more and more people are opting to leave their jobs early in order to “reinvent” their careers and personal lives.

Official retirement, whether planned or sudden, can usher in multiple losses at multiple levels, including a reduced lifestyle, a smaller circle of friends, disorientation, loss of identity and diminished self-confidence.

Life review and reassessment are key to our orientation, as we ask:

  • “Who have I been and who can I be now?”
  • My earlier life decisions had been influenced be roles and responsibilities, most of which no longer apply. What meaning can I take from how I have contributed in the past and apply that to the present?
  • What skills and personal resources am I bringing with me?

These and similar questions can usher in, or enhance, our next stage of adult development.


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