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Saturday, 6 December 2014

Subtracting the job

Scrobs reminded me of this one.

An interesting aspect of retirement is how different people cope with it. Among those I know, some couldn't wait. They didn't waste a second in getting on with real life when freed at last from the daily grind. Others admitted to being at a loss when the world of work disappeared from their lives. I’m in the former group. Always knew I would be.

No one knew anything about her, because there was nothing to know. Subtract the shop-assistant from her, and naught remained. Benighted and spiritually dead, she existed by habit.
Arnold Bennett - The Old Wives' Tale

I've not encountered a case as bad as that, but presumably some people allow paid employment to be a much bigger aspect of their lives than others, more deeply wedded to concepts of self. Maybe for the high-flying executive or business owner that is to be expected and understandable, but for ordinary employees?

The world of work certainly absorbs a huge amount of time over a working life, but we don’t have to tune ourselves to it body and soul do we? Maybe it is also the wrench of ingrained habits being dropped so abruptly between one day and the next. Obviously work instills certain habits which become redundant or far less important as soon as one leaves for the last time. 

Bang! Suddenly it’s all gone as you drive away for the last time.

As the habits become redundant it is easy to see how this could feel as if the self has also become redundant. Part of it has - how could things be otherwise after all those decades? Yet for some folk such as the writer of this post, it seems to be a chunk of self I dropped with no ill effects whatever...

...strewth! What am I thinking of? That’s enough about work.

4 comments:

Michael said...

Very profound, Mr H!

As a good chum said to me the other day, "Nobody laid on a marble slab, saying that they wish they'd worked longer"!

Roger said...

Think of work as a bucket of water in which your hands are placed for whatever time, when you take them out the water flows into the space as if you had never been. Some careers - actors perhaps do go on. For most professionals the poisonelles tend to make life a misery and one is glad to go in the end.

Demetrius said...

After leaving work, strangely I found myself doing a lot more.

A K Haart said...

Michael - even if they did, would their colleagues agree?

Roger - the bucket of water is a good metaphor, but as far as I know I've never come across the word poisonelles before. Sounds apt though.

Demetrius - I probably do less now, although if lost time travelling is taken into account the difference may minimal. If time wasted is taken into account I now to more.