Posted in Money Mondays
As I’ve mentioned before, I really have been loving my part-time consulting gig. It’s hard to understand why, because when I was enjoying full-time retirement, I didn’t miss working at all. But a couple of Penelope Trunk’s recent posts have shed some light on the subject for me.
The first was a post about loneliness, with a link to this New York magazine article that explains the value of “weak ties” in preventing loneliness. I’ve written before about the importance of strong social networks to a happy and healthy retirement. But according to this article, “You need relationships that provide love and intimacy and you need relationships that help you feel like you’re participating in society in some way.” I hadn’t really considered that before, the value of weak ties.
I knew that I enjoyed the social aspect of my old job, and I continue to enjoy strong friendships with two of my ex-coworkers. But the rest of those work relationships were of the weaker type, folks I don’t really keep up with these days. It wasn’t until I formed some new relationships like those at my current part-time job that I understood how much I get from those weaker ties. The days I go into the office I get a charge, I feel happy and energized when I get home. And according to this article, I’m not imagining it, “there is evidence that weak ties simply make us feel better.”
It’s also true that in retirement, you have to engage in activities that are meaningful to you. And of course that’s true for working people too. Penelope Trunk’s other post was about how to make your work more meaningful, and again, much of it has to do with relationships. The feelings that you are contributing to a team, that you are helping people, that you are making a difference, help to create meaning in your work. “You will feel good at work if you are making your boss happy—it’s a symbiotic relationship.”
Every job has its bumps in the road, of course. And usually people accept the bumps because aside from these benefits of work, there’s also the money. And most people need that, so they have to accept the bad with the good because of the money.
Last week I hit one of those bumps. I had a really negative email exchange with someone outside of the company, to be more precise, a total jerk. And since I’m retired, although maybe not technically, the thought occurred to me that I don’t need this crap. Are the benefits of making a contribution and a connection with the team at work worth enduring the bumps when the need for money is removed?
The day after my negative experience I popped into the office for a staff meeting. We all enjoyed a bit of wine, discussed a bit of work, and had a bit of fun together. So I guess the answer, at least for now, is that the benefits are bigger than the bumps.
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