EDITORIAL: LEARNING TO LOVE YOUR JOB

EDITORIAL: LEARNING TO LOVE YOUR JOB - Do you whistle while you work? Do you sing a happy tune at your desk? Or do you just curse inwardly while you slog on with the daily drudgery? Work has received a rather negative press in the past few years. It has b

by RUFUS OLINS, editor-in-chief, Matthew Gwyther, editor
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Do you whistle while you work? Do you sing a happy tune at your desk? Or do you just curse inwardly while you slog on with the daily drudgery? Work has received a rather negative press in the past few years. It has been blamed for everything from marital break-up, through juvenile delinquency to irritable bowel syndrome.

But now some commentators are coming to its defence. Our exclusive extract from Richard Reeves' new book Happy Mondays suggests that we need a major reappraisal of our attitudes towards our careers. As he puts it: 'Working hard at a job you love does not make you a social pariah ... Work is where life is. And where the heart is. It is okay to derive more satisfaction, pleasure and pride from your labour than from your leisure.'

This is pretty controversial stuff and might be hard to stomach if you are reading this exhausted by the mere prospect of what you have to do, worried by the economic slowdown - or stuck at home wondering why your partner is still at the office leaving you to look after your screaming children.

But Reeves makes an important point. When work goes well it is a vital source of stimulation, satisfaction and fun. For many it provides a sense of identity, a place in the community and a social status that they find difficult to do without when the time finally arrives to move on into the so-called golden years of retirement.

On the subject of which ... Once you've had your fill of happiness or misery in the workplace, what next? It's the dream of many to be able to hang up their suit for ever, whether by dint of a windfall from the lottery, a payoff from the company or many years of diligent saving. But how can your fantasy really translate into reality? Just how much money do you need to have banked to keep the wolves from the door after you have got off the treadmill? One million, 5 million, 10 million?

This is the subject of our feature 'Do you have enough to retire?' and, frankly, we found it alarming to learn that people dramatically underestimate the size of the nest-egg they need if they are to sustain a good lifestyle after they stop working. Most thought a pot stuffed with pounds 237,000 in used fivers would leave them in clover. But with average life expectancies in this country now 75 for men and 80 for women, that cache will not keep you in pina coladas and private medicine for long. You may need to keep tripping joyfully into the office for a while yet.

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