Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thanks to Ford

In 1926, Henry Ford created the eight-hour workday and five-day workweek for his employees and it soon became the norm. His motives weren’t altogether altruistic though. He wrote in the company newsletter, "Just as the 8-hour day opened our way to prosperity in America, so the 5-day workweek will open our way to still greater prosperity . . . It is high time to rid ourselves of the notion that leisure for workmen is either lost time or a class privilege . . . People who have more leisure must have more clothes. They eat a greater variety of food. They require more transportation in vehicles." (From Ancestry Jan 09 Newsletter)

Imagine having to work 10 hr days 6 days a week and it makes you thankful for Henry Ford and labor unions who pushed for shorter work hours. But then I'm also thinking of those individuals in all our families who worked 24/7 with no breaks and no pay-they were our parents, and us when we were parents. 

I sometimes take my retirement for granted and not having to work. Being able to choose how and what to do to best use my time is a blessing. I've worked most of my life as a teacher-in Universities, then as an elementary school teacher, librarian and finally as a part time community education leader. The jobs I most enjoyed were part time so I had some time and energy left to be a parent. But retirement is a wonderful luxury I enjoy daily and spend most of it writing histories, doing genealogy research and blogging with a little teaching thrown in here and there. I love to teach adults!

What do you plan to do with your retirement or what are you doing if you're retired?


Mare said...

I agree with you. I love being able to plan MY day instead of planning lessons. And I just scheduled another AARP class, and, yes, adults are fun to teach.

mom/caryn said...

I retired when we moved to New Harmony. I lived less than 20 minutes from my sister, My hubby worked part time, and yet I found myself whistling around the house wondering what to do after a while.

I love to write occasionally, to paint and sculpt my Father Christmas's faces and hands, to work in my perennial flower gardens... but, those are theraputic past times for me. They're best enjoyed on a now and then basis. (well, okay... the flower gardens need more attention than that. But, they're not a full time activity.

I just couldn't handle not being more involved in the world I went back to work.
First doing consultant work with a couple of dental offices, then working with a real estate office. And lastly, taking the necessary steps to become a licensed realtor.

So, in answer to your question as to what I'd do if I were retired...
evidently, go back to work. Only part time, of course... That leaves me free to hang out at the Hollow, get involved with whatever current interest grabs my attention, and to spend as much time with my lil kiddikins as I please.

I like having free time... I also love the work world and being a part of making dreams happen.

Most of us have been so fortunate to have had careers that were stimulating and gave us a feeling of contribution. Imagine sitting on a stool placing caps on a pepsi bottle for 8 hours a day. Many jobs are something you grit your teeth and get through... day after day after day. I think of those who find them in such tiring circumstances and want to send each and every one of them flowers and chocolate cupcakes to let them know that they're recognized for the small part they play in making everyones life a little bit better.
If I'd worked in an industry like that... or been chained to a cubicle in a stuffy office somewhere... retirement would probably be a whole different world for me.

SandyCarlson said...

Left-handed altruism, like the left-handed compliment? Thank you, Henry. I'll take it.

I am glad you enjoy your retirement. I enjoy the retirement of my friends and family--they are around and it's great to be with them.

Linda Reeder said...

Interesting connection in our postings today. You'll see my answer there.

Kay said...

You are amazing, Lin. You continue to do so much. I sure am loving retirement though. I'm just thankful that we could retire. Not everyone has been so fortunate.