Working overtime also crowds out time for friends and family, personal interests, and taking care of your health. Too often we cram down unhealthy fast food and skip the daily exercise we really need in order to put in more hours on the job.
Mix these issues with long commutes, the pressure of constant deadlines, office politics, and maddening work rules and bureaucracy, and you'll find all the reasons so many professionals, managers and office workers who have been working for decades fantasize about retirement. Tell the boss to shove it, and go lie on the beach!
Unfortunately, as I've written about before, most boomers don't have the financial resources to retire any time in the near future. So what can you do -- other than grit your teeth and keep your nose to the grindstone until you can finally afford to retire?
There's another way: You can get your life back by working fewer hours. Here are a few ways to accomplish this:
- Make a formal part-time work arrangement with your company.
- Say no to overtime, possibly citing health reasons as noted in the above study.
- Turn your job into "stealth" part-time work by simply taking more time off than allowed under your paid vacation policy. The time you take off will be unpaid, but if you're judicious about using this technique and make sure you get your work done, there's a good chance you can make it work.
Working too hard to support an expensive standard of living is simply not sustainable for many people. If this sounds like you, I encourage you to set up your work and personal life so that you can continue working for 10, 15 or 20 more years. Here's a video clip that does the math on part-time work to help you see how to set up a sustainable life.
Your later years should be the time to pursue what's really important: your interests, spending time with friends and family, and taking care of your health. While downshifting won't solve all the problems mentioned at the beginning of this post, you'll be off to a great start. You can't afford to sit back and accept the status quo. Take the initiative to get your life back!