University Affairs recently published an interview with Professor Michelle Pannor Silver regarding her new book, Retirement and its Discontents: Why We Won’t Stop Working, Even if We Can. In an attempt to better understand why people in high performance careers perceived retirement as difficulty rather than reprieve, Dr. Silver interviewed doctors, CEOs, athletes, professors, and homemakers in the midst of their transitions into retirement. In the interview, she discusses topics such as the influences behind her work, and its implications within academia on both a personal and institutional level.
Dr. Silver is an Assistant Professor of Sociology with teaching duties at the UTSC campus, and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Health and Society. Her professional interests include gerontology, aging and the life course, retirement and health care expenditures. More specifically, her research interests include health economics, health informatics, health policy, and health services research.
The full article can be viewed here. We have posted an excerpt below.
UA: How does academia inform perceptions about boundaries between work and life outside of work?
Dr. Silver: Academia is a great example of a line of work where those boundaries between work and life get blurred. There’s an expectation that you’re always thinking about work. Some of it is very deadline-oriented, like grant deadlines are very hard rules and if you miss it by a minute, you’re out, your application will not be looked at. But then there’s other aspects of it like writing and producing articles where the pressure is on you to accept those internal deadlines. To be really successful at it, you have to always be on, always be receptive to getting ideas anywhere.
On the other hand, academics are also a great example of people who can potentially be very successful in retirement. Many of the non-academic retirees I interviewed said “I don’t even know what to do, every day is a weekend.” They didn’t know how to structure their time. But academics do, they have to run a class and coordinate with TAs and all of that. Academics are quite well suited to retirement if they put the skills that they’ve been developing in their work to use for their own personal life.
Read the full story.