Pluralisation of transitions
The transition from employment to retirement has significantly changed in the EU in the last few decades. Not only are years of service extending and the retirement age increasing, but pensions are also falling and they no longer guarantee a decent life. Retirement can be a breaking point in a variety of ways: psychologically, it is seen as a developmental task, as a longer-term process, or a critical life event (Filipp and Olbrich, 1986). Psychologically, the loss of identifying activities points to the loss of self, the loss of worthwhile projects that reflected one’s personality, and also the loss of the meaning of life (Wijngaarden, Leget and Gossensen, 2015). Primarily it can mean a significant cut in people’s biographies (Schmidt-Hertha and Rees, 2017). Despite all the facts and research and with the clear transformations in social life and the increasingly more present re-definitions of gender identity and gender capital, politicians and the wider society still consider that retirement is not a critical life-event or noteworthy change.
Krajnc (2016) acknowledges that building a new
meaning of life is a necessary preparation for a successful transition to
retirement. Forcing older people to a social and psychological “death” after
retirement by not giving them an opportunity to fully experience the new life
situation that they are entering can be devastating for them (Krajnc, 2016). In
a quantitative research study of more than 2,000 interviewees (men and women)
aged between 50 and 69 years from Germany, Schmidt-Hertha and Rees (2017) found
that satisfaction with the workplace in all stages of the career, positive
perception of work and high personal identification with the workplace are
crucial elements on the path to retirement or motivation for delaying
retirement. This can also be seen facing the newly appearing practices of
bridge employment (part-time work before retirement) and re-careering (second
career after legal retirement) (Boveda and Metz, 2016).