Sunday, November 15, 2009


Full retirement may not be all that fun and fancy-free.

I learned a new term recently – “bridge employment”. This refers to the part-time work that prospective retirees should consider moving into as a sort of transition before moving into full retirement. Studies show that bridge employment, especially if it is related to one’s area of expertise, contributes to lower rates of major diseases like high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.

These findings were reported in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology last month. A sampling of 12,189 workers in the US in the 51-61 age group were surveyed every two years over a period of six years. Not only were these "bridge employees" in better physical health, they also had fewer mental health problems compared with their counterparts who went straight into full retirement.
Secret Recipe hires senior citizens.

However, the study revealed that bridge employment in an unfamiliar field of work did not yield similar health benefits. This could be due to the stress of learning new skills or adapting to a new job position.

It is not surprising that many people who have reached retirement age accept their company's offer to extend their employment on a yearly contract basis. Not everyone can handle the sudden switch from being gainfully employed to doing nothing day in and day out. Besides, not everyone can afford to retire fully.

Teaching has always been my passion. Although I 'officially' retired in 2004, I'm still in touch with education through my part-time work as a university tutor and through the workshops I conduct for teachers. I suppose that qualifies me as a semi-retiree in bridge employment.
That's me giving a talk at MPH, MidValley.

The message is clear: Don't slow down completely upon your retirement. Ease gradually into it by staying physically and mentally active. Get a part-time job that interests you, learn a new skill, or volunteer for community service.


foodbin said...

I am all for bridge employment-i have seen many cases of people who retired fully-going into depression, having nothing to do or they just hang out in the coffeeshop. What a pity!

Unknown said...

Retirement is serious business.
Unless you have a well planned programme to retired into, it is healthier for you to remain engaged in some form of work aka bridge employment.Remaining active physically and mentally retains your sanity before you kill the bucket which all of us will eventually do.

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part time worker