#work #careers #retirement4
Chances are, if you ask someone on his death bed what he wished he had done more of, he wouldn’t say “work.”
But Rory Vaden, cofounder of Southwestern Consulting and best-selling author of “Take the Stairs,” says, “work is integral, work is freedom, work is joy.”
If one asks his elders about work, he would hear things like, “I worked hard all my life.” Or, “you don’t get anywhere in this world without hard work.”
For many of us, if we look today at what we do for work, we can’t wait to be financially able to quit working, relax and do other things that we don’t consider work.
But Vaden, who discussed this in a Nov. 16, 2014, column in The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville, says the idea of “retirement,” and “leisure,” are changing.
We can see that in today’s world, without looking very far.
The idea of working at a job for 30 or 40 years, then suddenly “retiring” to do “nothing,” are pretty much gone. Today, many people are being “retired” before they want to be.
Staying at one job, or one company, for even 10 years is difficult because companies reorganize often, and bad managers are career killers.
We all would love to have jobs we enjoy, but we all know someone has to do the job no one wants to do.
If you happen to find a job you love, you are blessed. If that job lasts you most, or all, of your career, you are unusual.
Retirement planners tend to look not only at financial issues, but also whether a person is ready to retire. If you had all the money in the world, what would YOU do in retirement? As tempting as relaxation is, it will get old. When it does, boredom is not a pleasant condition.
Vaden quotes Timothy Keller, author of “Every Good Endeavor,” who quotes the Bible: “The book of Genesis leaves us with a striking truth – work is paradise.”
For many, work is paradise only if you don’t have work, and you need work. But, on the other hand, to paraphrase Vaden, whom do you know who hasn’t worked, or doesn’t work, who is worth looking up to?
Our work is part of who we are. It can also consume us. Yet, for most, work has a purpose in life, but it is NOT our whole life. Those who see work for what it is, and use it to make a good life, are perhaps the happiest of us.
The lesson here is to use your work to make you better person. If you are young, prepare for the day when your job disappears. You will probably never know when that day will be.
One way to prepare for a job to go away is to have a Plan B. There are many such Plan Bs out there. For one of the best, visit You can work at Plan B when you are not working at your job. If you work at it correctly, you can eventually fire your awful boss.
Vaden asks, “why do we subscribe to this myth that our lives would be much better if we had less work?”
The answer to that is different for everyone. But, when you arrive on your death bed, try to have as few regrets as possible. We should all work at minimizing our regrets.


The goal of past generations is to have the next generation be better off than they were.
Many of us can remember a time when, if we worked hard, we advanced. If we had a job and behaved on the job, we could work as long as we wanted, retire when we got older and have a few good years of leisure as a reward for our hard work.
By most accounts, this was called the American Dream.
The recession of 2008 may have changed everything. We now have a world in which the middle class is shrinking because hard-working people are losing their jobs, and having great difficulty finding another that pays as well – if they find one at all.
Lifestyles are being cut back. Pessimistic views of the future abound. Perfectly good, hard-working people are getting discouraged. Spirits are being broken.
Thomas Picketty, a French economist, draws a picture of consolidation of wealth in fewer hands in his book, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.” New York Times columnist and economist Paul Krugman calls the book a phenomenon. Krugman wrote about the book in an April 24,2014, column.
Picketty sees a world in which more wealth will be concentrated in a decreasing number of hands. He sees that as a dangerous trend.
No one wants anyone to get paid for laziness. Most people want to work, and want to be paid fairly for what they do. Krugman points out that more conservative economic policies of government are leading to wealth being spread more lavishly on fewer people, at the expense of a majority of others.
Without getting into a debate about the values, or evils, of socialism or capitalism, let’s look at what we have in front of us.
Many of us have gone through a downsizing at work. Companies are learning to operate with fewer people, thanks to technology advancements and other things.
When this happened in previous decades, those who got laid off were reasonably confident they would find work before too much time passed. Today, that’s not necessarily the case. There are millions of people who have been out of work for extended periods, and employers are not hiring them because they have been out of work for so long.
Hence, the capitalistic wealth distribution formula – work=money – is turned on its head. The socialist voice is getting louder. In other words: more heavily tax those few who have benefitted from this, to cover those that they injured in the process.
But there may be a better way than wealth redistribution through government. Make more widely known the available vehicles for a person to change his life. There are many opportunities out there for people to live their dreams, despite having been hurt by the current economic trends.
For one of the best, visit At the same time, some people have to change. It was comfortable having a job, going to work, work as many years as a person wanted and retire not only with the means to meet needs, but perhaps to also enjoy leisure.
You can be angry at wealth concentration in a few hands, or you can find a way to gain more wealth for yourself, and help others do the same.
That’s the ultimate in people helping people. If more people did that, proper wealth distribution would naturally occur, without government interference.
It’s always better to earn your own wealth than to take someone else’s. Look for a vehicle that allows you to do that, without impoverishing others in the process. Look for that vehicle you and your friends could ride together — and work together to enrich each other.
Think of the good you can do in the process. Best of all, think of the fun you’ll have doing it.