As a worker you were valued by, and delivered value to, your employer, your clients and others: I hope. You also had personal meaning conferred on you by your work: again, I hope.
Translating this into the postwork environment, I have written more than once about the imperative to find meaning; but what about value? Do you want to feel valued? Do you want others to think that you are valuable to them? And are you doing it in a way that is consistent with your own most important values?
Alright, practically speaking you may want to sit in your garage making model boats strictly for personal pleasure. Fine, that will have value for you. It is said that Chinese artists of the past would create art – say a pen sketch on paper - and then roll up the scroll and never show it to anyone else. Also fine.
But at the other extreme, suppose you decide to donate charitable hours to working with sick people. Then I say you almost certainly will feel that you are valuable to other people, and that you will feel that you are valued by them; as part of a feedback loop. In a play on words, you are doubtless connected to one of your own deepest values; that is to help others less fortunate than you.
In summary we have the 3 Vs. To give value, to be valued, and to connect to your values. To do this you should:
· Clarify to yourself and others what you want to achieve
· Connect with others of like mind
· Celebrate the various forms of the three values that you now enjoy
Is that so different from the successes that you experienced when you worked?
Retirement: You won’t know what it is like until you get there.