Work, leisure, and retirement
Work, leisure, and retirement
The relationship between work, leisure, and retirement is unique in that the three aspects are interconnected. When professionals work in their various offices, there are obvious channels and opportunities for leisure time, and after individuals have worked for a long time, they implement their retirement plans. Achieving a balance between these three major aspects of life is discussed at length by various scholars, including John Cavanaugh and Blanchard-Fields, who are both learned in adult development and psychology. Their arguments and theories revolve around developments occurring as people age and the steps that they go through in the process of aging. This essay will be divided into the three major elements that were mention above and conclude with an analysis of their relationship, as well as their significance in people’s lives.
In my understanding, work can be described as the part time or full time occupation done by people for monetary benefits or other kinds of benefits. Ideally, people work in areas where they have attained most skills, experience and competence but sometimes this is not the case. In discussing work, I find it pertinent to mention that most people spend a greater part of their lifetime working in one way or another. In my research, an average employee in America or Europe spends between 12 to 30 years working different jobs in different capacities and different institutions (Cavanaugh & Blanchard-Fields, 2011). This means that various landmark events happen in one’s life during their prime productive period.
In this section, we shall focus on the work-life balance. Finding a balance between work and life can be very difficult for most workers. In these situations, families experience the consequences of the decisions made by workers. Most families that I know would prefer more children but cannot afford to stop working (Alboher, 2008). Other workers are contented with the size of their families but still prefer to work more hours. I see this as a challenge to governments because if workers cannot attain their preferred work and life balance, their welfare is disrupted and eventually, the development of the country slows down. Workers who have families cannot be given difficult choices such as whether to choose the size of their families or to earn more money as this might lead to few babies in the society and fewer employment opportunities (Alboher, 2008).
Within the family, I have discovered that work affects different aspects such as the distribution of tasks among family members. Gender roles determine the work that people do since more men engage in paid official work while women spend more hours in unpaid household chores. Studies done on the impact of gender roles revealed that while men spend approximately 131 minutes per day doing domestic work, women spent over 279 minutes doing the same chores over the same period. This difference varies among countries and continents, for example, in Turkey and Mexico, women spent 5 hours more than women in Nordic countries did (Cavanaugh & Blanchard-Fields, 2011).
I will address the issue of dual earner couples that affects the decisions of who works in the family. Most families traditionally have the husband as the sole worker and the wife as the domestic worker. The Women’s Movement was responsible for the change in the status quo of men in the industrial sector. This movement and other forces advocated for the rights of women in the workplace. Slowly, the trend shifted toward having women as breadwinners and lower wages for men in the workplace. Couples having children exhibit this tendency even more than childless families do. Most work-family conflicts I have come across take place when work duty and family duty interfere with one another. The change to dual-earner couples has put increased pressure on coming up with new ways to foster family life.
Work is closely related to leisure in that when workers spend too much time on work-related time and little or no time on leisure activities, they develop negative attitudes and feelings toward work and people around work. Some of the benefits of leisure time include an improvement in the mind, body and soul as well as giving individuals an enjoyable time away from work (Alboher, 2008). Leisure time also gives individuals certain skills such as commitment and goal achievement techniques. Leisure time is also indirectly related to retirement rates within the workplace.
One of the benefits of proper usage of leisure time is an improved health status as well as life expectancy. Longer life and better health mean that workers do not have to retire early because of poor health or physical complications such as arthritis or cancer. Early retirement among older people comes as a relief from the pressures of the workplace that take a toll on the physical and mental abilities of employees. These employees could make good use of their leisure time to indulge in healthy activities such as exercise that will improve their ability to learn faster and keep up with the younger employees.
Leisure can be defined as the time spent away from the workplace, away from work-related activities or any other commitments. The distinction between leisure and inescapable activities is very difficult to spot as some individuals may do tasks for their own leisure as well as for productivity. Typically, the average employee works over 1,000 hours a year and dedicates around 14 hours to leisure that may include meeting people and friends, hobbies such as games and watching television shows (Cavanaugh & Blanchard-Fields, 2011).
As adults grow older, their results gradually become less visible as physical and mental challenges plague them. Younger people have little value for their leisure time and may prefer to carry their work home as well as on holiday. In that way, older people cannot keep up and seem like under performers while, in reality, younger employees are more aggressive and productive. This phenomenon occurs in almost all workplaces having a diverse population and brings out the relationship between the usage of leisure time and retirement among ageing employees. In this case, older employees prefer to take up early retirement in workplaces having aggressive policies.
Human resource records in most companies display evidence that younger people are more productive than older people are. Although older people may have the necessary skills and experience, once younger employees possess the similar qualities, they prove to be more productive. Older people are also more conscious of how their leisure time is spent and are therefore more likely to take up more recesses and leaves. Older people are also slower in learning new systems, protocols and methods of operation in the workplace. For these reasons, older people choose to retire and enjoy more leisure time.
People who had successful work experiences and were contented with their contribution toward their country, their personal targets and their financial status consider retirement as a viable option. In considering employment, most people opt for a complete disengaging from active employment. Conversely, some people opt for semi-retiring in that they reduce their working hours. For mot employees, retirement is not a choice but more of opportunities to gain full benefits such as pension even though a large percentage of older people retire are forced to retire when their physical condition cannot allow them to continue.
In most developed countries, the governments have built systems to offer pensions on retirement for aged employees. In underdeveloped countries, such support is provided by the family that serves to explain why most employees in third world countries maintain their official positions for longer years. Recent developments in the workers rights have affirmed the right of any worker to be paid pension by their company or employer. The age for retirement is not explicitly set, but countries have tax regulations and old age that typically define a certain age as the customary retirement age. The customary retirement age differs from country to country, but it is usually between 50 and 70 (Cavanaugh & Blanchard-Fields, 2011).
Factors affecting retirement decisions
Many factors influence retirement decision such as the state of social security in a society. In different countries, employees tend to retire at the normal retirement ages of the state pension system, for example, in America, this age is from 62 -65 (Cavanaugh & Blanchard-Fields, 2011). Individuals have been found to respond positively to financial incentives to take up early or normal retirement. Increased wealth also promotes early retirement since individuals who obtain great wealth have a predisposition to retire and focus on purchasing additional leisure that make their lives more comfortable. The source of this wealth may vary, but the overall effect is that it gives employees or self-employed people little reason to work when the pay is substantial.
Other phenomenon such as the global financial crisis has also been cited as contributing toward the decreased number of employees retiring. This because the crisis depleted the savings kept by most low and medium income earners. The reverse is also true in that the financial crisis may force most of the employees into early retirement. The joint effect of mass retrenchments and the limited investment in the stock market by employees, who were just about to retire, ensure that employees still prefer to retire than to continue working. The financial crisis did not affect the retirees directly as they had limited investment of companies’ money on the stock exchange.
The last two factors that influence the retirement decision include the health condition of an employee and the employment status of the partner or spouse. Employees that had poor health or suffered from chronic illnesses tended to retire at an earlier age than fit employees did. The declining state of health is therefore positively related to retiring earlier. Married individuals are also more likely to retire when they reach the due age as they coordinate their retirement decisions. This is because husbands are usually three to five years older than their wives are, and can therefore afford to retire and still survive on their spouses’ earnings.
The decision to retire might be an independent decision or might coincidence with other life changes such as retrenchment, relocation or adoption of a new lifestyle. Retirees find themselves with a lot of free time that is normally spent working in charities and community organizations. Other retirees engage in tourism or opt to take care of their grandchildren or aged parents. At this point in life, individuals pursue other forms of leisure that were hitherto difficult to do. Retirement is closely associated with aging in that as one ages, they tend to retire from their places of active employment. The elements of successful ageing, which include low likelihood of being sick, good physical condition and an active commitment in life, indicate good retirement condition.
The correlation between these three aspects can be summarized as follows. Work, leisure and retirement, are crucial decisions that all need to be planned for and implemented accordingly. Of the three, work needs most planning as it is heavily influenced from the education level where decisions in school determine the orientation and skill of an individual. Work is also the most significant of the three as it takes up the largest part of our lives. The choice of work should therefore be done thoroughly as it shapes the future of an individual significantly. The relationship between retirement and work refers to performance in the workplace. Increases in age are characterized by changes in the mental and physical abilities of employees. However, leisure is also equally critical in that proper use of leisure time will improve the working experience for most employees.
Alboher M. (2008).Tell Your Boss You Need Leisure Time. Work Happy Now. Retrieved from http://www.workhappynow.com/2008/06/tell-your-boss-you-need-leisure-time/
Cavanaugh, J. C., & Blanchard-Fields, F. (2011). Adult development and aging. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Thomson Learning.