Why work - at my age?
A few months ago, I was approached by someone I knew about coming to work for them. They have a small but busy trade business and needed administrative support. I was initially surprised, given that I’m past ‘retirement age’. However, I wasn’t getting an immediate ‘No’, so I asked to sleep on it overnight. There wasn’t much of a decision involved because I knew I was getting a ‘Yes’ in my body and that is how I gauge my responses nowadays. I wish I had been on to ‘listening to my body’ when I was younger but back then I was still trying to ‘think my way through life.’
Anyway, I called the next morning and confirmed the details of when I would start. I didn’t tell anyone for a few months that I had gone back to work. Why? Exactly! Because that would have been the question. Everyone would have asked me “Why - would you go back to work at your age?”
At the time, I didn’t feel like having to explain myself. I didn’t even want to talk about the business I was going to work for or what I would be doing there. If I mentioned I had gone to work, there would be lots of questions and conversation around it, so it was actually effortless just not to mention it. It wasn’t like I had to be super secretive about it. If I didn’t bring it up it was easy to not have discussion about something no one knew anything about.
I also suspected that I complained a lot about the various jobs I had over the years. I imagined my friends would be nervous if they knew I went back to work, out of fear of the forthcoming complaints!
I had the practical reasons, of course, of why I should say yes to taking the job. I liked the ‘style’ of the person I would be working for. I wanted to support him and his business and I wanted to get to know him better. After hearing him talk about what he truly offers through his business, which was so much more than appears on the surface, I knew it would be interesting and I saw it as an opportunity to evolve, in more ways than one.
And then there is always the issue of money. Although administrative positions have never paid well (one of my many complaints over my working life), a little extra money is always helpful when stretching the pension years, especially in the current economy of 2022.
But even more significant to me than those reasons were, I wanted to be engaged in the ‘work chamber’ but do it in an entirely different way than I had spent my whole working life. My well-established pattern was to work hard, inevitably taking on more responsibility than was expected of me in my position and certainly more responsibility than I was being compensated for. During my working life, I was always striving. Striving to be the best employee that person would ever have. Striving to not make mistakes. I was often the first one to arrive at work and the last to leave. And in the end, I always felt under-appreciated and under-paid, because, well, because I was ‘working’ in the wrong energy. I wasn’t working in consideration of all equally. I was working for myself, my gain, my image, my ambition, my goals, my, my, my. Oh my, so much individuality.
There is nothing wrong with working hard, being a good employee, going the extra mile etc. They could / would even be considered attributes. The energy of striving, however, says loads about the stress and tension I would have been delivering ‘the best employee of the year’ in. So, this new job offer in the later years of my life represented an opportunity to be in a working environment without all that striving. I’m at an age now where I have nothing to prove to anyone. Whew! Such a relief. I know I can do admin work in any business, and I can do it without contributing any stress or tension to the business world. So, the true question became “Why not go back to work - even at my age?”
With reincarnation being an element of my understanding of what is going on here on planet earth, I am now not only living this life but considering what imprints I am leaving behind for the next life. Dedicated as I am to being the best person I can be, I doubt if I am moving free of the Wheel of Rebirth just yet! So, what will I be bringing back next lifetime, what imprint am I leaving in the world, what kind of imprint am I leaving for myself to return to? I see this little part-time administrative job as an opportunity to contribute, to care, to be efficient, to not strive, to not need recognition, to not complain about any of it!
Having said all that, I’m also aware that the ‘silver’ work force brings a skill set and attitude to ‘getting the job done’ that seems to have gotten lost over the decades. Hiring baby boomers is actually good value for most businesses.
Work is a big part of everyone’s life.
Most children respond well to work, they like helping mom or dad or the neighbour. They get a sense of satisfaction having ‘worked’ and contributed.
Work is often our first true step of independence as a teenager, we have somewhere to go that isn’t controlled by our parents, we have our own income.
Remember (for those of you who are as old as I am) the Dobie Gillis show in the 1960s – there was a character named Maynard G. Krebs, a beatnik, who had a strong aversion to work. He would squeal “Work! Work! Work!” as he ran out of the frame. Somehow, it was really funny to see a person so freaked out about work – because no matter how old we may have been when watching that television show, we knew that work was an essential part of life.
There are people who choose a career and love what they do, there are others who just go to work because they have to pay the rent and then there are those who manage to get through life without working. Think how much work that must be – avoiding work! Maynard G Krebs put a lot of energy into his day to avoid working.
So here I am, not really ‘needing’ to work financially and my days and weeks were always full, so why would I rearrange my rhythm to make space for a part time job? There’s something about work that is essential to our evolution. And not just our own evolution but work is a place where you are responsible for the evolution of others. How we interact with others, be that with the boss, colleagues or customers, we can either elevate the other or bring them down, we either heal or we harm. Work gives us the opportunity to engage with others, to bring our best selves, to hold the space for others, to benefit all.
Work is another word for
See it any other way and it will be for you
the process of effort driven labour.
Teachings & Revelations Vol IV pg 458
27/7/2022 12:26:09 pm
Thank you Gayle, I love what you have written about the value of continuing to work long after retirement age and the way you have approached it – laying down new patterns of working in preparation of what is to come and of course enriching the work place with all your silver-haired wisdom.
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Gayle Cue loves writing about life, reflecting on every day miracles and pondering on the big picture.
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