Ernie Zelinski's basic message, no matter your career stage: get a well-balanced life and quit relying on your job to define who you are.The Joy of not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed and Overworked by Ernie J. Zelinski; Ten Speed Press, 223 pages, $16.95.
For workaholics: If you are working more than eight hours a day, Zelinski writes, perhaps you are in the wrong job, or you are doing it wrong. Workaholics make simple things complicated and turn small problems into big ones, just to give themselves more work and fill up their lives, he says.
Peak performers are the opposite. They accomplish goals within a reasonable amount of time by working smarter, not harder. Also, they have jobs they enjoy.
For retirees: Too much emphasis on saving for retirement can make you forget what it takes to enjoy retirement. In other words, people work hard all their lives for the moment they can stop only to find themselves bored and without purpose when they do. Tips for an enjoyable retirement:
• Establish a good work/life balance years before you retire and zealously maintain it.
• Don't work weekends.
• Develop friends outside work.
• Don't tie your identity to your job.
• Be healthy and physically fit.
For the unemployed: It may take some time to improve your self-image if you have been fired or laid off, Zelinski writes. Those whose sense of identity is closely tied to their jobs will have the hardest time. His advice: Make the most of the situation by learning how to handle your spare time. Though it sounds like small comfort, leisure activities can be just as valuable, challenging and rewarding as work. The result will be a healthier outlook and a renewed sense of self-discovery, all of which can speed finding a new job.