Tuesday, April 9, 2013

On definitions: Retirement

what is it? For that matter, what is work? What is your time worth? Is compensation (someone else's valuation) the only way to measure the worth of your time? Validation by others, even those you have no respect for?

These questions I put to myself every time I fill out a form or choke back reaction to statements implying my time is worthless (and thereby of less meaning so I should be happy to be imposed on and exploited). So evocative of attitudes expressed about the Victorian angel of the hearth or 50s homemaker…but implying even less value for also being lazy, old or both. 

I'm in the market for a new term altogether: I'm not retired, I'm _____ …what? Repurposing or reinventing myself. I've used "curator of myself" and rather like it. Retirement is when you get to decide both what your time is worth to you and what to do with it. 

In economics, “retirement” has no definition.  Or rather, it has several definitions, none of which are any good. 
First off, there’s self-defined retirement. When do people say they’re retired? Turns out it depends, and it depends on a lot of things....People can still be working and say they’re retired. People can be out of work and say they’re not retired. As people get older the lines between unemployment and retirement start to blur.
nicoleandmaggie (proprietors of Grumpy Rumblings) continue

Anyhow, this is all to say that we at grumpy rumblings think it is lame ...[to] argue about what the definition of retirement is. There is no technical definition. They don’t own the term.  Nobody really does. Except, of course, the self-defined version, and we social scientists know that the self-defined term means different things to different people. 
And that’s ok.

On definitions: Retirement | Grumpy rumblings of the (formerly!) untenured

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