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ERIC Number: EJ907285
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Nov
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0955-2308
Making Sense of the Future
McNair, Stephen
Adults Learning, v22 n3 p29-31 Nov 2010
Certainly, there are people who can't wait to leave work, and people with grand plans for retirement. There are also people who have worked a long time in a stressful environment or doing heavy manual work, or who live in a poor community, and whose life expectancy is much shorter. But most people in their 50s say that they would like to work longer, although often they are seeking some sort of change: going part-time, moving to a less stressful role, using their experience better, and sometimes taking up an entirely new career path. Surprisingly, money rarely appears at the top of the list of reasons to stay in work (though this may reflect a British reticence, and, of course, some people do badly need the money). When asked, older workers are more likely to talk about the social contact with workmates and colleagues, the interest of the job itself, and the sense of contributing to society. As people begin to think seriously about retirement, many ask whether it will provide these rewards, and staying in work, or phasing out gradually, begins to look more attractive. A sense of a future probably distinguishes those who manage their later working lives best. Those who have a sense of new challenges, in work or beyond it, are more likely to enjoy work (whatever it is), and thus to stay longer. Qualitative evidence shows that people do find these satisfactions in a great range of jobs, including many very "low-status" ones. The author contends that there is a need to develop education, training and careers guidance which help everyone to find this sense of a future, and to prepare for it. Training is not the magic cure for all problems of working in later life, or for the challenges of retirement, but, as every adult educator knows, motivation is critical. Those who are planning for a future, by enriching their present jobs, moving towards another, or by aiming for some new challenge in retirement, are more likely to find life fulfilling.
National Institute of Adult Continuing Education. Renaissance House, 20 Princess Road West, Leicester, LE1 6TP, UK. Tel: +44-1162-044200; Fax: +44-1162-044262; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom