“The eternal problem of the human being is how to structure his waking hours. In this existential sense, the function of all social living is to lend mutual assistance to this project.”
~ Eric Berne.
A classmate of mine who was in his own business till age finally caught up with him handed over the business to his son and retired some six months ago. He however kept going to the office till his son finally told him to either stop or take the management back from him. He finally stopped going to work and came to find out from me how I manage to pass my time in retirement.
Yakob has been part of my family’s life since December 1990 when he came in as our gardener and handy man. Yakob was working as a peon in an establishment near our home and his employment with us was for before office hours.
Yakob hit the age of sixty by the end of February this year and had to retire from his position from the establishment where he was working. Since then, he has visibly deteriorated from a cheerful and happy go lucky fellow to a listless and cheerless individual. No amount of my trying to cheer him up helps.
Both these cases are typical of many retired people who do not know what to do with themselves during their waking hours.
To the former, I explained how I occupy myself with so many things that I find little time to do other non routine things. He just could not understand how I could read so much, solve crossword puzzles, blog, WhatsApp and so on as he never had the time to develop such or other interests during his working days. He left as disheartened as he was when he came in.
To the latter, I am trying to find some re-employment through other friends and hope to find something soon.
Retirement can be brutal if one had not developed some interests other than career related ones while still working.
The problem with Pravin, who has suggested this week’s topic, is that he is very much younger than I am and his touch with Behavioural Science is of a more recent origin than mine. I acquired my Masters degree in Management over fifty years ago whereas Pravin did just six years ago. He has also had some serious human behaviour problems to handle in his young years, which he did with aplomb. I may however be quite a bit off the mark in offering my take, from what Pravin would expect me to come up with.
Human behaviour, in my not so humble opinion can be explained in one word. Unpredictable. No science would ever be able to come up with solutions for such unpredictability, but the student would be able to simply identify the possible cause for such behaviour.
There was a period of time in my past, well after I had formally studied Behavioural Science, when I studied human behaviour with a great deal of vigour as I was in the rat race and felt that such a study would help me deal with such unpredictability. Among the most useful books that I studied and which helped me somewhat were three notable ones starting with The Anatomy Of Power by J K Galbraith; I Am Ok You Are Ok by T A Harris and and Games People Play by Eric Berne.
These books helped, but only to a limited extent because by nature human beings behave in unpredictable ways. So, I gave up trying to understand and come up with strategies to handle behaviour, and accepted whatever came my way but behaved in the way that I felt, rather than thought as being appropriate for the occasion. By and large that strategy has worked and I have not had any major hiccups in my interpersonal relationships including some very unpleasant ones which I survived.
I continue to use the same strategy and am quite comfortable with the results that I experience.
Pravin has suggested this week’s topic. You can see what the other writers of the LBC have to say in their respective blogs. Maria, Pravin, Ashok and Shackman.