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Zest for work

Around 30 years ago, I founded a company, and now in my mid-70s, I am still working as its director and chief executive. Despite my ageing body, I do not want to quit.

During the 30 years, several employees have come and gone. Remembering the poetic line "Men may come and men may go but I go on for ever", I seem to be bent upon going on forever pursuing the work that I have been doing for several decades now, until my time will call out. Am I right or wrong?

Several employees in my company are less than half my age. I do not know whether they admire my resolve to work or look at me silently as an "outdated boss". But I do not care.

Many professionals retire after long years of service, as they necessarily have to retire under the policy of their establishments. Often, retired persons claim that they live their life the way that they want to or enjoy reading spiritual books, introspecting or involving themselves in social service.

Some people even opt for voluntary retirement, to lead what they fancifully call as an "alternative way of life".

In several cases of self-employed persons in business, whatever may be the size and success or otherwise of the business, several of those beyond the age of 60 hand over the responsibility to their children or those dear to their heart and move away from the mainstream of the business to observe from a distance or leave completely.

Somehow, I do not want to move from the area of work that I have chosen for myself several decades ago, in spite of my age.

Several people seem to criticise my attitude, describing me as a greedy or egoistic person or lacking in maturity or unaware of better things in life to focus on.

However, the motivation for me to continue work appears to be my thought process (however, exaggerated it may be) that through my company, I have been contributing to the overall progress of Indian industry, society and economy and my feeling (however, foolish it may be) that my fading away will be a loss for the country and its progress.

Certainly, my craving for continuing to work is not due to any interest in earning more money.

The criticism that by staying on in the job, I am blocking the progress of someone else who can occupy the director position of the company, replacing me, does not appeal to me.

In any case, I do not want to reconcile myself to a situation of forced retirement as per the "conventional practice" or due to societal and family pressure. In other words, can I claim that I do not want to survive the rest of my life as a "lameduck individual"?

Am I an eccentric, workaholic or simply ignorant?

nsvenkatchennai@gmail.com

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 3:26:22 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/zest-for-work/article32820104.ece

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