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Retirees on work-life balance and its evolution in retirement

In today’s job search, finding a good balance between work and life is a big deal. It’s one of the integral factors that people weigh when deciding on a career path as well as between jobs. So, we asked our community “How important was work-life balance throughout your career and did you manage to achieve it? Has your perspective on the topic evolved in retirement?”

Explore the various perspectives on work-life balance and how our WisGen navigated this topic themselves.

Sanjay Bhatnagar

Retired as Sales and Marketing head from Pharma. I am now pursuing my hobbies - reading, visiting friends, relatives, etc.

Work-life balance is and has always been important to me during my 37-year professional journey. I was largely able to manage the same, of course, with the fantastic support of my better half and children. In retirement, I have only my personal life to manage which is going well. Now, I am able to provide more support to my wife who is still working.

Mani Arumugam

The last position I held was HSE Manager. I am currently serving the notice period at my company for retirement. My hobby is reading books. I am interested in browsing for some side hustles.

Work-life balance has been critically important throughout my career. It allows me to maintain a healthy and fulfilling life while also excelling in my professional endeavours. Achieving work-life balance can be challenging, but it is necessary to avoid burnout, stress and dissatisfaction.

To achieve work-life balance I prioritise my commitments and make time for activities that bring me joy and relaxation outside of work. This may involve setting some boundaries, such as establishing regular working hours and avoiding excessive overtime. It is also important to prioritise self-care, including regular exercise, spending time with family and enough rest and sleep.

As retirement approaches, work-life balance takes on a new meaning for me. The transition from a full-time career to retirement requires me to adjust my priorities and find new ways to engage in fulfilling activities. This may involve pursuing hobbies, travelling, social activities etc. Retirement offers a unique opportunity to focus on personal passions and interests allowing me to truly enjoy.

Chinmay Chakravarty

After a stint of over 36 years in the media sector of the Government of India, I retired as Director of the Press Information Bureau, Kolkata in November 2019 and am now self-employed as a full-time writer-author.

For me, life is work and work is life! I don’t differentiate between work and life. Therefore, the balancing act, unfortunately maybe, is non-existent in my case! Let me explain a bit as to why work and life are inseparable: we start working while still in the womb, trying to absorb all the nutrients given to us; then we work our way out to land on earth; the work continues as we struggle to express ourselves, take pains to try to walk and so on; from nurseries to schools to universities study is one stupendous piece of work: and then landing a job to settle in life and help our investing parents becomes the biggest work, not to speak of our constant laborious efforts for the real balancing work with our spouses.

So then, there is no question of any evolution of the work-life topic! Of course in my case only, and apart from the generally arguable fact that perhaps it becomes more of a balancing act for our spouses, in my case a wife, who must’ve been pissed off finding their erstwhile working life partners sitting and lounging at home for the whole day/days/months/years even though they’re actually ‘working’!

Sitharaam Jayakumar

I retired as a Lead Software Engineer in the year 2019 and have taken up writing in earnest since then. I write articles on gender equality, politics, fiction, flash fiction and several other areas. I am an author of four books, have contributed to several anthologies and am a published poet.

Work-life balance was and is extremely important to me. For the initial 15 years of my career, I was working long hours with little or no rest and it did have an adverse effect on my health. So in the latter half of my career, I gravitated towards the kind of jobs which would allow me to maintain a semblance of balance between work and leisure. This helped me a lot in regaining my health and in addition, it also gave me opportunities to pick up other hobbies like writing which has now become my alternate career after retirement.

Ramachandran R S

I am a retired IT professional, with interest in networking with other professionals and also share my experience of 40 years in the corporate field by writing and blogging and participating in debates and events.

In all my 40 years of corporate life, the work-life balance was very important and I saw to that, I get enough personal time, sometimes even at the peril of risking my job.

Well for me this has been a habit even when I was in school or college, as I always would like to be back home on time for dinner with family and be with my mother as far as possible, even when my friends would ask me to stay for an extended game of cricket match. Strict “NO” from my side.

While working, yes, I did have extended hours of work specifically when overseas, working in different time zones, but soon I felt a toll on my health and established some work boundaries. After marriage and children, it became more serious and I saw to that, I leave office at EOD and am back home to help with household chores. That gave me immense satisfaction, and I also inculcated, promoted, and propagated these ideas amongst my peers, subordinates, teams and even new joiners to maintain a healthy work-life balance and enjoy theeir life beyond work.

I am sure many would not agree or would say that it is not possible to maintain a good work-life balance in the demanding world of work culture, but trust me it is possible if you plan and execute well.

Finally, if you learn and master the art of managing personal work life, both of which involves work and tasks for different reasons, you will then realise you have already balanced it, and no special effort is required to further balance it.

Arvind Jain

I am an engineer and career counsellor. Love to write, anchor, and sing. Active in social field as well.

For me yes, work-life balance was an important factor. In initial years of my career as I was more absorbed in work responsibilities. Being in project management line, the working hours were not regular. Soon, I realised that healthy work-life balance is very important as it allows a person to  excel at work and take care of his/her personal wellbeing outside of the office too. So I started maintaining a balance proposition and it does helped me a lot.

Work life balance leads to a healthy life, less absenteeism from work, enhanced productivity, more engagement in work and less stress. This is what I have experienced in my life.

The same balanced approach is still in my life even today. It helps me to take care of my work as well as family. Ultimately, in old age, time is to be balanced among family members with less work.

Nakul Subramanyam

Researcher, Operations & Traveler

I think the concept of work life balance was alien during the late eighties when I started working and I was fortunate to have worked 5 day weeks which gave me the weekend off unless some office emergency came up which did happen often in an operations role. It helped tremendously that my spouse gave up working to look after the kids and she held the fort at home through thick & thin.

Work-life balance became important to understand as I got to handle diverse teams. Empathy and accommodation was critical to foster teamwork and help manage personal commitments of team members outside of work. In my last decade of working, it was a fairly evolved concept helped by technology and working through the pandemic was all about bringing the balance.

Post retirement it has been difficult to apply in reverse! Where life takes precedence over work and again a balance is critical to live a fulfilling life and this is work in progress.

Hara Kumar Manji

A self-made man who believes learning has no limit.

Even though I felt it was important, frankly speaking, I failed to manage it all the while throughout my career. In fact, I don’t believe in retirement in its real perspective, rather I would prefer to enjoy my life as long as possible by getting engaged in some worthwhile activity so long it permits my ability to perform and so I am in search of such opportunities even at the age of 82. 

Sharad Vitthal Gaikwad

Retired as a mathematics professor from an engineering college. I still teach since teaching mathematics is my passion.
Retired as a mathematics professor from an engineering college. I still teach since teaching mathematics is my passion.

Of course, work-life balance is very important, but if you are passionate about your work, work and life then they are not that different. You enjoy both, work and life together!

Haleema S

Presently, I am a Director for International Trade Shows and a Coach at my company. I handle a sales and marketing portfolio of 25 international exhibitions organised in different countries. I am also establishing my own startup company in my field. My hobbies are reading about psychology and human mental dynamics, solo travelling, doing yoga, watching plays/movies, and learning or exploring new crafts - right now I am learning crocheting.
Presently, I am a Director for International Trade Shows and a Coach at my company. I handle a sales and marketing portfolio of 25 international exhibitions organised in different countries. I am also establishing my own startup company in my field. My hobbies are reading about psychology and human mental dynamics, solo travelling, doing yoga, watching plays/movies, and learning or exploring new crafts - right now I am learning crocheting.

Work-life balance has always been a very important factor for me throughout my career. It was one of my key values and once I knew it, I decided that work-life balance would be one of the key factors in my career. I would work for companies where this factor was not just talked about but strongly valued and implemented because trading your time at the expense of yourself is not worth it. Initially in my career, I had no work-life balance but I realised soon how important it was for me.

I found that you lose a lot when you miss out on your “me” time. Loss of time can be many things, it’s a kind of self-deprivation. You need time for yourself to know what is going on in your life, how you wish to move forward and to simply rejuvenate physically and mentally. When you have no work-life balance, you trade your time, which is never coming back. When I had no work-life balance, I found that I achieved success in my work but lost out on many good things in my life. I had no time for hobbies, meeting my family, travelling, taking holidays with friends or even staying in touch with them.

My perspective on work-life balance has been the same at all times – whether you are young or old or retiring – your time is valuable and you can’t compromise on that.

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