Pluralisation of transitions

3. Post-work lives and identities independent of paid work

Community-based activity, particularly in community men’s sheds, allow men to develop identities independent of paid work. It allows for opportunities for regular social interaction and hands-on activity in groups, within organisations and in the wider community. The value of this interaction was enhanced for older men when this activity was more than individual and cerebral (knowledge or skills-based). It seems particularly powerful, therapeutic and likely to have broader well-being benefits when it is physical and social, involving other men and contributing to the organisation and the community. 

This hands-on activity has particularly strong well-being benefits, whether it be via sport, fire and emergency service volunteering, gardening or “doing stuff” in sheds, because it creates, maintains and strengthens men’s post-work lives and identities through communities of men’s practice. In this sense, it allows men to be “blokes” together in ways that are positive and therapeutic rather than negative or hegemonic (Golding, 2011a, 41).