Rant and Rave


Retire Already, Will You?!

Don't Be Depriving Someone of a Job

And while You're At It, Spend Some Time with Your Kids, Okay?

by Ray Magliozzi


The other night, I was watching a TV show about some 92-year-old geezer who's working as a stockbroker. The guy's a living fossil, and he's still thrilled that he can put on his suit and tie and go to the office to do something "meaningful." You know what he's doing that's meaningful? HE'S DEPRIVING SOMEONE OF A JOB. And, unlike him, it's someone who needs the money.

Think of it: At age 92, this geezer is still collecting a paycheck. He's been doing this for 60 years, and he's probably got more money than Bill Gates (okay, maybe not...but you get the picture). So, what's he going to do with all that money, anyway? Buy a gold-plated casket?

What this old silvertop needs is not more money, but FULFILLMENT. By working, he's substituting money for fulfillment; what he needs to do is find something else that's fulfilling. Old Piston Puss here thinks money is the only thing that's fulfilling. Why? Thanks for asking. I'm going to tell you why: because he's probably never done anything else with his life.

Let's examine the life of this old coot, of whom everyone's so proud. Here is a guy who probably never spent any time with his wife. He probably buried his wife 20 years ago, and all those years they spent together (or, were supposed to be together--remember?--that's why you get married), he was never around. He should have spent those years enjoying his wife's companionship. And when he retired he should have been going on trips with her, with all that MONEY he made in the previous 40 or 50 years of WORKING. Come to think of it, I bet HE PROBABLY DIDN'T EVEN GO TO HER FUNERAL! Why? TOO BUSY! Okay...maybe he was there, but I'll bet you three Garcia Vegas he was probably trading orange juice futures over his cell phone.

Let's admit it: It's very easy to get wrapped up in yourself and to claim that you're doing something that's meaningful. Most of us have been there at one point or another. But, if you aren't doing something meaningful--and that means something that's really going to help humanity--then it's SHEER LUNACY to devote your life to your job. Consarn it, I don't care what you're doing: you DON'T need to be doing it 80 HOURS A WEEK for 80 years.

Why does all this matter? Here's why: because YOU'RE DEPRIVING SOMEONE ELSE OF A JOB. At some point, you need to step aside and allow someone else to work his or her way up the ladder. If you need to get up and work every day, then work for free! Become a volunteer. Tutor some inner-city kids, help out at a homeless shelter or spend some time with your grandchildren.

The bottom line is this: There are too many people out there who do not have a life. There's no doubt that we have a great work ethic in this country. There's nothing wrong with hard work, but there's also something to be said for goofing off, and there's certainly something to be said for retiring when you're supposed to retire.

Now, I'm not saying everyone should retire exactly at age 65. If you haven't made enough dough, then, by all means, keep punching in. And (Tara Lipinski's tutu!), what WERE you doing all those years?!

Okay, I'm starting to feel a little better now.

I've got one final point to make: If you have kids, even when you could be working, YOU SHOULD STAY AT HOME. Here's what I mean: There's one other group of people who are depriving folks of a job. Namely, two-income families. Now, don't get all frosted under the collar--I'm not talking about both parents working to make ends meet, I'm talking about couples who are wealthy professionals, like doctors and architects and lawyers. I mean, HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU NEED? I can listen to all the counterarguments there are, but KIDS NEED THEIR PARENTS AT HOME. You may be making all the money in the world, but, chances are, you're probably substituting money and gifts for time with your kids.

You know what? Kids don't want presents. They don't want trips to Disney World. They don't want "quality time" (which we now know is complete bullfeathers). They want YOU. They want you, and they want you in QUANTITY TIME. Kids want their parents. And, I hate to say it, but in their formative years, kids want their mothers. It's true. Fathers may be able to change diapers and mix formula and all that stuff, but kids need their moms. If you want to work, fine, but I think you owe it to your kids, and to society, to stay with the little tykes for at least those first few years. Now, I know there will probably be a lot of highfalutin child psychologists who are going to whine about this Rant, but TOO BAD. Unless you're Albert Schweitzer, Marie Curie or Mother Teresa, nothing you do will ever be more important to society than raising your kids. When you think about it, kids are the only thing you're going to leave behind. (Okay--your kids and a pile of bones.) They're your legacy. One of you should quit your job and spend some time with them, all right?

I think my blood pressure just came down under 200 for the first time this month. If you'll excuse me now, I think I need to take a few deep breaths.

Here's my bottom line: Don't be a schmuck. Don't deprive young, hard-working kids of a job. And, speaking of kids--if you're going to have them, remember to spend some time with them when they're growing up. Before it's too late.

So, you got a problem with that?

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