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Work, an activity as another?

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Demonstration In France against retirement legal age measures.

Since a few days, we can assist to strike movement in France, protesting to the increase of the legal age of retirement. This question is a concern for many states and it seems that the measure taken by the governments are not welcome everywhere.

I was a bit surprised by some interviewed people, and more particularly by some students protesting against the measures taken by the french government. What surprises me is that somebody who has not yet start to work, is already concerned by the retirement. Strange life perspective. I often hear people talking about the retirement and expecting it as soon as possible. Probably some of them will regret to see that the retirement age will be there fast and will regret to already reach it.

It is allowable to think about your future, and about the revenue you will earn when you will be retired, but is retirement a goal, the goal of your life, or is it the solution to a problem? Here is the question. If people are already talking about retirement, it is because they are not really happy with their job.

As I am used to say, work should be considered as another activity, as a hobby. The main reason to do a job is because you like it. Of course, it is not always easy to find the job matching with your expectation, particularly in crisis time. But it seems to me that at the beginning, work is considered as a constraint and not as an activity where you can find interest and which could be a resource of personal development and of blooming. Of course, there are jobs which are not offering potential of blooming, but which for people are needed. This view of the job as a constraint has probably a cultural and historical origin. During the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, the work conditions were very hard, and are still hard today for some specific jobs. It is obvious that in this case, it is difficult to find a way of blooming in such hard job. With such conditions of work, work was and is still considered as a constraint, something we have to do in order to earn money. But does it mean that we can not bring more value or respect to the people doing these jobs? In a previous posting, I was relaying a article about a car factory plant in Germany, where the production chain and the time work were adapted for the seniors blue collars, giving them the possibility to work in better conditions. These adaptations contributed to the workers wellness. The wellness improvement is probably a key element of motivation.

Comparing to the industrial revolution time, the work conditions are changed, some jobs are less painful than compared to this time. But does it mean that the work environment is always beautiful?

Recently, in a forum, there was a comment from a french journalist, Véronique Anger-de-Friberg, related to the increase of legal retirement age in France, and the wave of protests against that measure. She is saying that if the work was contributing to the blooming of the major part of french people, the retirement at 62 years would not be an issue. In this posting, she clearly underlines the fact that if people want to be retired as soon as possible, it is because there are not happy at all on their job. If by the past, some physical jobs were difficult because done in hard conditions, we are assisting since many years to psychological pressures in other jobs. We assisted few month ago to a wave of suicides in some companies, like France Telecom. When such things happens, it is obvious that something goes wrong, and it is not giving hopeful professional perspectives for the young generations.

I would say that there is two key in that issue. First is to do or try to do the job you really want to do. As said Confucius, “Do a work you like and you will not have to work during all your life”. Ideally, we would have to like our job, as we like to swim, to read a book, to travel. And even if we are facing difficulties, as we can face in different sides of our life, we have to see them not as problems, but as opportunities of self-development.The second condition is to offer a blooming environment to the people, giving them the wish to do their job. Here are the opportunities for talented managers to boost the motivation of their collaborators, and to give them the feeling to be part of a project, of a company. With such conditions, you would consider your work as another activity you like to do.


Written by Eric Saint-Guillain

October 19, 2010 at 21:14

2 Responses

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  1. I turned 50 last month so with only 15 years to go till retirement I am certainly not looking forward to it. A vacation is great to rest up a bit but I can’t imagine being on vacation permanently. I think I would be bored stupid without my job to go to.


    October 19, 2010 at 21:49

    • Hi Tony,

      Thanks for your comment. For me retirement is only an “administrative” status. I will not probably do the same job all my life, I will probably work less when I will be older, but the most important to me is to get always a project contributing to my personal development.

      Eric Saint-Guillain

      October 19, 2010 at 21:58

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