Give me more time off and I’ll work forever

I love working. The joy of being productive, earning money, increasing knowledge and experience, and social contact are just a few of the reasons why I work. In just five short years I will reach the traditional retirement age of 65. I find myself asking “Why would I want to stop working then?” The answer is easy — I don’t.

The idea of not contributing my skills, talent, energy, and experience in the workplace is incomprehensible to me. Yet, I am all too aware my physical limitations are increasing and my energy and stamina are decreasing. I have long been accustomed to being an energizer bunny – capable of working tirelessly to accomplish a task. Now, my energy levels are changing but I am lightyears away from wanting to put my feet up and embrace the lifestyle we call retirement.

I would like to continue to work for as long as possible. Not because I have to but because I want to. There are things I would like more vacation days, flexibility with my work schedule, permission to rest during the day when I become fatigued and the ability to pursue new interests. As someone who is self-employed, I have the ability to make those changes. But what options are there for someone who is not self-employed? Perhaps more than you might imagine.

A 2015 study from the Life Insurance Management Research Association found that 92 percent of employers are taking specific action to help older workers stay on the job. The study also said “two thirds of employers in the study offer flexible hours while 42 percent offer flexibility on where employees work such as, working from home or other locations. Other adjustments include job training/re-skilling and job sharing.”

The reasons for companies accommodating older workers include the business benefits of a mature workforce and the desire of 80% of employers to retain experience, institutional knowledge and leadership. As more and more baby boomers leave the workforce and retire, employers that understand their contribution to the bottom line may provide incentives such as increased vacation, and flexible work hours to get them to stay working longer.

The current version of retirement, 20 or more years of leisure after working, has never existed in our country before and perhaps for good reason. Working is a fundamental part of living. With a few tweaks by employers baby boomers may have the option to work as much or as little as they want for as long as they like.

Kathryn Avery

About Kathryn Avery

When Kathryn Severns Avery’s husband, Chris, began contemplating retirement in 2014, she knew they had to quickly come up with a multi-faceted plan. They spent the next year discussing, sometimes heatedly, what they would do once he stopped working. On paper their plan looked exciting. They would head from Colorado to the 1891 sea captain’s house they bought and renovated in Rockland on Maine’s midcoast. But the reality of planning and implementing retirement was much different than expected. Kathryn has worked in radio, television, marketing, and public relations. She is the author of five books and has written articles on interior design and crafts for national and regional publications including Romantic Homes, Log Homes Illustrated, The Rocky Mountain News and Colorado Homes and Lifestyles.