The joy of commuting, plus the weekly round-up

I’m back blogging at BNET again after the holidays. My post this week is called “Hate your commute? 5 ways to use it, lose it or enjoy it.” I’m learning to write in tip format, which turns out to be good for getting people to click. Not all of life can be organized into bullet tip points, but part of life can, so I’ll write such things from time to time.

I work at home these days, so there’s no commute, but part of me misses it on occasion. I go straight from intense work to intense kid interaction. A short drive would give me time to wind down. I’m trying to train myself to build decompression in, stopping work at 5:45, say, and then writing in a journal, but it’s tough because I’m never actually done when my childcare hours are done.

Anyway, there’s been lots of pick-up of the “This is not your grandpa’s retirement” story from USA Today as well. Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, framed the rise in senior labor force participation in spiritual terms. As he writes on his blog:

Here is the key sentence in Vanderkam’s essay: “The notion that work is something you want to stop doing is getting a makeover as well.” It’s about time.

The Bible dignifies both labor and age, but the modern American ideal of retirement is nowhere to be found in the Scriptures. Instead, lives of useful service to the Kingdom of Christ are the expectation, all the way to the grave.

Now, obviously many retirees do volunteer work as a way of being of “useful service” but there are plenty of ways to be useful through paid work as well, and it’s good to see that recognized.

Over at the Fiscal Times, Michael Hodin says my piece “ought to be of interest to any congressional members thinking about economic growth, health care, Social Security or education.” I’m guessing that’s just about all of them! Hodin agrees with my point — that people working creates wealth, and people working longer thus creates more wealth. This is to counter the widely held “lump sum of labor” idea — that older people need to be bribed out of the labor force to create spots for younger people to have jobs. There is not a set number of jobs in the world (though there may be at certain organizations in the short term). Jobs in the aggregate are a function of supply and demand, and when seniors have more and more regular income, they spend more, thus boosting demand. Which is a good thing.

I was also quoted in Kimberly Palmer’s column over at, “Young adults set big money goals for 2011.” According to a new survey, young adults are more likely than older ones to be trying to save more, get their finances in order, etc. While part of this is just the optimism of youth (younger people may have fewer set payments) it’s generally good to be thinking long term about any project: a career, your finances, your personal life, etc. My take: “An effective life stems from making big goals and then breaking them down into doable steps.”

And, bonus! A great review over at FortyBeads blog, where author Carolyn Evans (whose Forty Beads book is coming out in a few months) writes that she found my book in an airport and it leapt out at her. Her take-away?

This book is helping me change my perspective on time. Because it turns out, there are enough hours in my day and your day, too–168 of them in a whole week and it’s how you plot out those hours that makes the difference in the use you get out of them.

Agreed! Hope everyone has a great weekend. I’ll be on Maggie Mistal’s Making a Living with Maggie show on SiriusXM again a little after 4pm today, you can go here for a free trial.


6 thoughts on “The joy of commuting, plus the weekly round-up

  1. I don’t know. I think all this emphasis on work, work, work, work, work is just kind of sick. We are moving toward working basically all of the time; overtime overtime overtime when we’re young, working til we drop dead when we’re old.

    It’s sick. Sick. Sick. Puritanical, American, and sick.

  2. Also, it makes me sad that it took a Southern Baptist theologian to re-characterize ceaseless work in the paid labor force as “lives of useful service to the Kingdom of Christ” …. nnnnnnno.

  3. I interpreted the theologian’s comments may as in terms of service to the Lord rather than telling folks to stay in the paid workforce. Isn’t his role to see trends in the world and show us how they tie to gospel principles? I’ve seen the terminology of retirement have detrimental effects on church service, and redefining the terms of work and retirement can help address that issue. Have you heard of church members turning down requests for their service with the response ‘I’m retired’ as if they’ve earned a rest from service in the Kingdom? If this guy has run into that attitude, I can easily see this as a gentle way of nudging folks back to ‘work’.

  4. The American family has worked longer hours by adding more family members to the workforce.

    Since 1973 this increase in family average hours worked is the equivalent of adding 5 months of work in a year to the 2080 hours.

    Wives in working families have assumed the major share of this increase in total family hours worked, contributing more than 500 additional hours of work per year. But the male worker in the family has also worked more overtime hours, and both husbands and wives have taken on second part time jobs as well.

    All three developments add up to the 5 additional months of work American workers’ families now work in order to offset declining hourly wages and just to make ends meet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *