A Buddhist View: Rethinking the Interplay of Work and Retirement as Seeking Life Meaning


Robert Di Niro and Anne Hathaway intern (2015). from fullfocus.co

Past views have emphasized that the rapid rise of AI and robotics could mean a massive shift in jobs in various fields, even Buddhist temples and ministries. Ironically, this fear that AI could take jobs goes hand-in-hand with long-standing fears that despite the year-on-year increase in productivity, we are nowhere near early retirement or shorter working hours. doing. Conversations about work and play generally sound like a zero-sum game. To work more, you need to spend less time on rest and leisure. More personal time must by definition mean less time spent in the office.

In the United States, public productivity has been rising since the 1980s and shows no signs of slowing down. In France, President Emmanuel Macron faced fierce opposition to his plan to raise the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64, and even though parts of Paris were consumed by protests, it was put into law in April. Signed. In an industrialized economy, pundits often follow Silicon Valley trends in spirit if not policy, and appearing busy and overwhelmed with work is both social capital and prestige. Social media continues to promote hustle culture and the “grind,” but the pandemic may have changed attitudes towards presenteeism and working from home.

In Japan, corporate culture puts pressure on the working lives of men and women, so few people take vacations even when they have holidays. There is even the word Death from overwork, which means death from overwork and is becoming increasingly famous outside of Japan. I work from 9:00 in the morning to 9:00 at night, 6 days a week, for a total of 72 hours. At the other extreme, Karahei (“lying down”) has become a common way for some Chinese to express their dissatisfaction with the constant competition and demands to work, and to make statements that go against social and family expectations.

There are plenty of memes that make fun of contrasting work cultures. Check out the Protestant work ethic fans and siesta-loving memes below. Despite its simplicity, this meme is still prescient in its commentary on the conflict between work and rest, or how simplistically we framed it.

These examples should make it clear that whatever our opinion of the moral values ​​of work and modern capitalism, most of us view work and rest through the prism of conflict and conflict.they are not complementary opposites shadow and Yang, but always in conflict, the nemesis of Manichaeism. Even the rise of AI and robots seems to be viewed from a dualistic perspective. It either frees us from family and professional woes, or it robs us of all the pride and power we get from work.

from knowyourmeme.com

A recent article published by BDG on Ven. Pomnyun Sunim, Korean Zen master and founder of the Jungto Society, gives his one pause. Our assumptions about work can prevent us from coming up with more imaginative and flexible interactions, he says.

When our society teaches that all professions are of equal value, people respect and disrespect a former CEO a lot more when he retires and works as a security guard in the same company. Similarly, a retired principal might volunteer to help a young teacher prepare a class or teach a class once a week, instead of taking time off. However, if wages and working hours for certain positions can be reduced, we can create a system that allows older people to keep working and earn money without overworking. . . . In modern society, the elderly are treated as if they can’t do anything, but if you look around you, there’s a lot to do.

at Ven. According to Beomnyung Soonim’s vision, working into old age does not mean getting a dignified and arduous job. Nor does it mean hogging senior positions that will imbalance the pension system or create frustration and restlessness among young and ambitious professionals. He advises that stereotypes and preconceived notions about work and social status must be discarded in order to transform the very nature of employment.

Any restructuring of this mindset should take into account the increase in life expectancy, i.e. the length of service. We also have to take into account the fact that retirement is not what all older people want, and that even in retirement the chosen profession has meaning. freely. The meaning is a very subjective and personal word, but Ven. As people get older, most people will leave behind jobs that pay rent, mortgages, and support families, jobs that are acceptable because they provide financial incentives. However, there are not only too few jobs suitable for the elderly in terms of working hours, effort, or wages, but too few. community Provides fertile soil for rest and work interaction.

From koreatimesus.com

What would these work communities look like? Surprisingly, the 2015 Hollywood comedy, intern, albeit idealized and fictional, provided a glimpse. The main character, 70-year-old Ben (Robert De Niro), just seems like one of those guys. Beomnyung Sunim has the following in mind. A former corporate exec emerges from boredom and loneliness to take on the role of a junior intern at a startup, offering his much younger boss Jules (Anne Hathaway) friendly guidance as his father did. He becomes like a community elder to company workers, offering advice on timely issues such as work-life balance, fashion, and relationships.

Importantly, Ben’s story arc is possible because Jules participates in a community outreach initiative aimed at taking on senior citizens as interns. Therefore, it is not enough for an individual to want it. Organizations have a great deal of responsibility to create an environment that is open to these changes.

Perhaps questioning the subtle and overt ageism of our own workplace culture is the first step in creating these communities where professions and professional priorities are mixed. We try to minimize discrimination based on gender and ethnicity, but age is often (but not always) seen as an indicator of authority and experience, and conversely seen as inappropriate often There is interaction, blending what both sides can offer. From this interaction comes community and meaning. Are age and youth, individual and community, work and retirement, after all, just conventional concepts that can be transcended?

see next

French pension reform: President Macron signs bill to raise pension age to 64 (BBC News)

Related features of BDG

view of buddhist gate: Religious and Professional Obligations in AI Life
view of buddhist gate: The Five-Day Weekend and Buddhist Work Ethics
how to work after retirement
future of work

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