How long will you be working?

If you think that work is a pain, here’s more bad news: not only are workers at work for longer every day, but the length of time they work before retiring is getting longer too.

In terms of working hours:

“In the UK the number of people working more than 48 hours per week has doubled since 1998” (Get Real-Elaine Glaser)

So while there is much talk about the 40-hour or 36-hour week, in fact, people in full time employment are more likely to be working a 50-hour week.

In terms of years at work, that is also increasing. People are living longer, so they need to work longer. Even if you manage to save enough money to retire, you are likely to continue working, because of the social impact of work. That is because you are bored, lonely etc.

Basically you have been trained to work for over 40 years, and it’s difficult to un-train yourself in your 60s.

The “official” retirement age in Australia will be 67 in 2023 and 70 in 2035. This is the age when you are eligible for the state pension, and is generally considered the proper retirement age.

Currently many people need to work after retirement age, usually for financial reasons.
Many more retirees have emotional difficulty in retiring because their identity is tied up with being at work.

So how long will you be working? For most people leaving school / university you will be working for over 45 years.

What if you don’t like your job?

Larry Winget is a famous work-life coach, describes himself as “the pitbull of personal coaches”. He prides himself on saying it like it is.

Larry doesn’t pretend that there is an easy solution to improving yourself at work. His advice on work and happiness?

“If you don’t like your job - QUIT”

In reality many young people can’t quit and so end up in jobs that will never make them happy. I’m a great believer in not burning your bridges. Unless your work is really bad, don’t quit until you have another job to go to.

The sad fact is that if everyone who was unhappy at work were to quit, there wouldn’t be many people left. Most people settle into a state of acceptance of work satisfaction.

Some unhappiness at work is inevitable. But if it gets too much, then prepare for the move and make the move as friendly as possible.

The important thing for a new starter at work is to know that the standard of acceptance of work conditions is usually set in the early years.

If a new starter is not shown how to enjoy work, not given good mentorship and practical help in their first steps in to the workplace, then it is likely that they will accept poor experiences as normal.

Worse, they may give up looking for the “perfect job” because they assume that “all jobs are like that”. The new starter then lowers their expectations - perhaps accepting a fairly ordinary work culture. But this need not be the case.

By applying some of the practices in this book, you will start off with high expectations, and achieve higher levels of work happiness.

In summary, you will spend a long time at work, so it is better to be happy then time will go more quickly and you will achieve
more. You will have a greater sense of satisfaction and you will probably earn more and have a healthier life.