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Lucy Kellaway article
Old 11-03-2009, 02:27 PM   #1
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Lucy Kellaway article

Lucy's latest column may be of some interest: When a longer working life is good for us all.

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to have a working life that spans five decades is better than one that lasts for three or four. Work is a bit like taking exercise. It can be boring and stressful while you are doing it (and on any given day, Id miles rather not work than work) but it is actually preferable to not working. It gives us structure, status and money; it gives us something to think about and gets us out of the house.
I must say that she failed to convince me that postponing early retirement is desirable. I have always been resistant to the imposition of "structure", and have no particular need for "status". "Money" will come from the FI part of FIRE ... I don't plan on being a wage slave for longer than necessary. And as far as "getting out of the house" goes, I have a lot of hobbies that are far more interesting than work.
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Old 11-03-2009, 02:31 PM   #2
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If you're the type who derived meaning and self-worth from your career, fine. But there are a lot of ways to "exercise" your mind, body and soul than w*rking until you're 70+.

Honestly. So many of these articles assume retirement is nothing but hanging around in the house, sitting on your ass watching TV and becoming out of shape, dumb, soulless and culturally illiterate. What a bunch of tripe.

Plus -- someone needs to tell Ms. Kellaway that age discrimination in the workplace is rampant. It can be hard to hold/find a job at 50+ even if you really want one.

And not everyone needs lots of "structure, status and money." Seems to me the pursuit of money and status led to a lot of the Jones-pursuing, debt-fueled affluenza that got us into this mess.
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Old 11-03-2009, 02:51 PM   #3
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So many of these articles assume retirement is nothing but hanging around in the house, sitting on your ass watching TV and becoming out of shape, dumb, soulless and culturally illiterate.
Retirement certainly can be like that ... but it doesn't have to be.

To her friend the retired solicitor, I would say: there are opportunities outside of work to be around young people. Consider becoming a volunteer youth leader (through scouting, Big Brothers, etc.).

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someone needs to tell Ms. Kellaway that age discrimination in the workplace is rampant. It can be hard to hold/find a job at 50+ even if you really want one.
So true. Indeed, I would go farther and say that in many occupations it can be difficult to hold/find a job at 40+.
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Old 11-03-2009, 03:20 PM   #4
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"Honestly. So many of these articles assume retirement is nothing but hanging around in the house, sitting on your ass watching TV and becoming out of shape, dumb, soulless and culturally illiterate. What a bunch of tripe."
Not to mention ratting around town in a pickup wearing bib overalls, chasing like minded dirty old broads or down at the doughnut shop eating unhealthy pastry/black coffee and swapping outreageous tall tales. Plus watching grass grow and paint dry in season.

I'll leave the book reading, phys ed, nuts and twig eating, culturally literate hobbies/travel crap to somebody else.

After 16yrs of ER - I wanna work on Geaux Saints, picking out navel lint, eating what I want and any really Curmudgeonly 'non politically correct' pursuits I can to earn a rep that I deserve the certificate downloaded from this very forum.

Ahem did I fail to mention Saint's won - I checked my BP with my WalMart meter 4th quarter and it was too high - but they did win.

heh heh heh - nope never did buy that kayak yet - but if I do - it will be the Curmudgeon model. Ya think I get testy when people have advice as to what great and noble things "I should" be doing with my time and money?
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Old 11-03-2009, 05:33 PM   #5
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"It gives us structure,"
I can structure my own life without having it done for me, thankyouverymuch. Wake up late, drink coffee, go to the gym, have lunch. Then play for the rest of the day. That sounds feasible to me.

" status "
Status? Among who, my co-workers? No time to spend much time with anybody else when working.

"and money;"
Which I then blow on time-saving items, or on things that I don't have the time to appreciate. I will feel richer in ER.

" it gives us something to think about"
I don't need for somebody to tell me what to think about. I can do that on my own, thankyouverymuch. I never seem to have a problem in finding something to think about. Does any intelligent person?

"and gets us out of the house. "
Again, my gym membership will take care of that for me.

This author's point of view is such a stretch. Time is so valuable. Why should I waste it? I prefer to do what I want to do, rather than what I do not want to do, with my time.
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Old 11-03-2009, 06:34 PM   #6
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I'm getting close to 30 years working already, and I'm only 43.
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Old 11-03-2009, 07:26 PM   #7
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Like others, I struggle with all of the reasons to keep w*rking.

"structure" : if my day lacks structure, I'm sure my wife will provide some. That said, given the length of my bucket list, I don't think structure is going to be a problem. If I get into a rut, I'll enroll in some courses

"status": being able to say that I am FI, happily married and in good health is all the status I need

"money": if I'm FI, then by definition I have sufficient money to satisfy my needs/wants. The ability to stop wanting more is one of the keys to happiness (IMHO)

"something to think about": work gives me things to think about. So do a lot of other things, like my hobbies and other vices. The latter are far more interesting and stimulating than anything the office could provide. I could almost say that w*rk is an impediment to thinking about the things I want to think about

"gets us out of the house": even after I FIRE, I will still have two school age children, so plenty of incentive to get out of the house (not that I need any)

Since I will be quitting the rat race by choice, I fully expect that my stress levels will drop, I will get more and better sleep and will not be making excuses for not doing the things I want to do.

If you need the money, keep w*rking. If you love your j*b keep working. If you have no life and nothing to do outside the office, get a life coach and sort yourself out before you quit. If you have enough money, don't love the j*b and have a life, it's time to hang up the suit and go smell the daisies.

The article (and others like it) does beg one question: if you did FIRE and found yourself in a rut, how would you get out of it?
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Old 11-03-2009, 08:09 PM   #8
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Geez, Milton, thanks, now you got me athinkin' about my "in box" from 14 months ago. Enough of that, there was a lovely sunset today, unseasonably warm, sat out in shorts and a tank top watching a cruise ship go out under the bridge.
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Old 11-03-2009, 08:15 PM   #9
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...but it is actually preferable to not working. It gives us structure, status and money; it gives us something to think about and gets us out of the house.
Wow - that's really tough when the only thing in life that can give you structure, status and money, give you something to think about and get you out of the house is a job!

Some people seriously lack imagination! How come so many people assume that if you aren't working, you're automatically just going to sit at home and vegetate?!?!?!?!?

Of course many of us don't care a bit about status. And why is structure imposed by an external organization somehow superior to structure you impose on your own life?

As for money - financial independence is such a thrill! Not to be dependent on someone else for money to live on!

Audrey
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Old 11-03-2009, 09:02 PM   #10
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i really do think it is a lack of imagination. My mother has been retired for about 20 years (she is in her 80s). She often tells me she is bored. She mostly takes care of the house and yard and watches TV. She never really had hobbies or interests and has a lack of curiousity.

I must admit it amazes me because I'm just never bored (well not when I have a choice of what to do). My list of things to do is way longer than my time available. I haven't retired yet but don't think I will lack stuff to do or structure or anything else that I really want.
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Old 11-03-2009, 09:06 PM   #11
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Some people seriously lack imagination! How come so many people assume that if you aren't working, you're automatically just going to sit at home and vegetate?!?!?!?!?

Audrey
I love being retired, and have for over 25 years. But I must admit, to a person used to doing important things, my days must sound very hum-drum. Like today. I left home around 11:00 took a bus downtown. Went to a bank in the federal building. Always fun; the worker to cop ratio in that place seems about 2:5. Very serious cops too.

Then I walked uptown to The market and had some oysters on the shell for lunch. Really different now that most of the tourists and cruise ship riders are gone. While in the market took a look at Vogue Huomo, in case they have suggestions for a frugal old man who is partial to carpenter jeans.

Looked around Macy's a while, I'm in the mood for a cashmere sweater. Enjoyed looking at all the stylish young downtown working women. A huge cut above the punk types and greens in my neighborhood.

After that I walked out to Whole Foods, and bought some grass fed burger, and a small hunk of grass fed brisket. I have a new high interest checking account that requires 12 debit purchases per month. By the time I had walked home I had 5 new ones, a head of broccoli here, a Diet Coke there. Now only 7 to go. 4 separate purchases of pork rinds will have me almost there.

So really, although I had a very pleasant day, all I did was open a bank account, eat some oysters, make some low $ grocery buys and stop at the Bauhaus for a superb cup of coffee. And walk about 6 miles. Every street in Seattle is different.

Like Cuppa Joe said, it was a lovely day out there.
Ha
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Old 11-04-2009, 05:31 PM   #12
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It gives us structure, status and money; it gives us something to think about and gets us out of the house.
It occurs to me that these perceived advantages could also be obtained by running a Ponzi scheme. Until you're caught, you will have lots of status, money and things to think (worry) about. And after you're sent to jail, you will be out of the house (for many years to come), and will have plenty of structure!

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if my day lacks structure, I'm sure my wife will provide some.
Too right!

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If you need the money, keep w*rking. If you love your j*b keep working. If you have no life and nothing to do outside the office, get a life coach and sort yourself out before you quit. If you have enough money, don't love the j*b and have a life, it's time to hang up the suit and go smell the daisies.
Good advice.

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The article (and others like it) does beg one question: if you did FIRE and found yourself in a rut, how would you get out of it?
Well, I guess you'd sign up for some courses ... or volunteer ... or travel to new places ... or join one or two groups that are interested in hobbies of which you have no experience ... or join the military (they take middle-aged people now) ... etc.
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Old 11-04-2009, 05:48 PM   #13
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Borrowing W2R's outline

"It gives us structure,"
I have my calendar reminders to do that for me. Call me crazy, but they do help me to focus on tasks when I'm feeling fidgety.

" status "
I had so many status changes over the last 5 years, I like being in the steady state right now.

"and money;"
Not an issue at all before FIRE, now a little bit of an issue relearning the strict budget thing after FIRE. Very manageable.

" it gives us something to think about"
I've always had too many thoughts kicking around in my head while in school and then w*rking. I love saying "I don't think anymore." It may sound odd, but I really have to concentrate on not multi-tasking mentally. I'm getting a lot better at that.

"and gets us out of the house. "
I'm happy to just walk around my back yard with my 2 dogs, or go visit my little grapevines. If I have business downtown, I do that. For the first time in my life, I have learned to enjoy my own company.
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Old 11-05-2009, 07:05 AM   #14
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I have learned to enjoy my own company.
What could be more important than that?
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Old 11-06-2009, 10:16 AM   #15
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So true. Indeed, I would go farther and say that in many occupations it can be difficult to hold/find a job at 40+.

Yes, many Federal Government jobs restrict applicants over 35 years old!
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Old 11-06-2009, 10:21 AM   #16
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Yes, many Federal Government jobs restrict applicants over 35 years old!
Which would be quite comical considering the federal government's own laws against age discrimination...
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Old 11-07-2009, 03:56 PM   #17
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Those fed jobs are the ones I want. They are fire or security/police/guards and have a better retirement plan than us regular feds. I am too old tho.
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