HELP ME, RHONDA
She’s here to offer advice to Hoopla readers… whatever your problem may be.
I am turning 60 next year and my boss asked me today whether I’d like to consider going part time after my birthday.
My initial reaction is fury – I have worked in the same place for 30 years. I am loyal, hardworking and love my job. How dare he suggest I ease myself out?
Later over a few drinks with my son and his children I started to think about spending more time with my grandchildren. Part time would mean that I could pick the kids up from school one day a week.
I don’t know whether to go in fighting for my full-time job or to give up gracefully and go part time for half the money!!!!
What a difference it makes to have control over these decisions that are inevitable in the last quarter of life. At some stage we must ease out of paid work and into other work whether it be 60, 70 or 80 –but the decision as to when should very much lie with you.
There is no doubt that most employers in Australia still consider age to be a factor that makes workers less desirable. This is wrong, wrong, wrong. It is wrong based on masses of worldwide evidence that shows that older workers are highly productive, that their skills are hard to replace and cost employers a monty. Older workers are invaluable members of the workforce.
It is wrong because it is just plain discrimination to take away work from a person because of their age, gender, sexuality, race etc.
But putting aside the fact that the initiation of this suggestion is wrong, there is some value in using what could be seen as a crisis to review your life and think about opportunities for change.
Life is all about change. If it isn’t it is hardly worth living. And the 60s bring a great opportunity for review and new decisions.
Turning 60 means that our minds have the opportunity to become slightly focused on the fact that life ends at some stage. Every day becomes more and more valuable in these last decades. So you reviewing where you’re at might be include checking the balance between your work and your relationships (and for many people they overlap so making loss of work even more painful).
Where do your grandchildren fit into your life? Are you making robust relationships with them that are satisfying to all of you? Are there other relationships you would like to have more time for? With friends, family, partners?
Do you aspire to travel? Do you have the money to do so or is work and the fulltime income that comes from it necessary for you to fulfill this aspiration, if it is one?
Do you have creative projects you have put on hold – waiting until you are not so busy?
One thing that is absolutely true is that the sixties is a time to take things off the future list and put them on the present list. Every year and decade is lucky after sixty.
While the sixties might be coined as the new middle age – that is actually a fantasy about living forever without illness or disability. Whatever we fantasise, a fantasy is all it is because we are going to become ill, disabled and die. This is because we are not immortal.
So use your boss’s “wrong” discriminatory question as an opportunity for you to rethink your life.
If you want to keep on working – then prepare a response to him that argues your value and your commitment. and if this fails then look at new work opportunities (and consider taking him to the Equal Opportunities Commission in your State).
But you may make other choices. Now’s your time to decide.
I feel stuck in a rut from hell. I am in a rut with my job – I have been in the same job now for 12 years and I haven’t got the energy to try to change the work or apply for a new one.
I have been stuck in a rut in the same relationship with a man who doesn’t even want children and I do. And he isn’t even interested in talking to me, much less having sex. Every day when I get home from my mind-numbing job, we sit in front of TV with our dinners on our knees and watch endless episodes of Dexter. I feel like I could become a murderer like Dexter from boredom and frustration.
My life is going nowhere, something has to change or I’ll go nuts.
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