Working is one of the best investments in your life, like education and families.
There can be no question that young people have to find a job as soon as is possible or practical because in today’s society you just can’t live without a job – you have to pay your bills. Most young people would agree that these first jobs are sufficient, if not exciting. They are at the beginning of something interesting, and that is a good start. Attitudes change with age, and older workers look for more fulfilling experiences even though you still have to pay the bills. These better experiences are normally built around the workplace, but also around the family, through friends and hobbies. Who wants to experience burnout? Who wants to die on the job just for money or position? Knowing things, having a good education, staying healthy and being aware of your surroundings normally help people make the right choices.
Getting paid for work and paying the bills means that the basic welfare services can be paid for. These basic services are what are needed for a better life and what definitely explain why a small country like Finland with huge areas of forests and lakes and a tiny population manages its affairs well in these competitive global markets.
But now, one of the biggest problems in Finland is that there is not enough people working.
Many live in the wrong place, or they don’t have the right training to take on a new job when they lost the last to some new technology. We are also having larger numbers of pensioners.
Too many have been unemployed for too long. They have given up hope of working because they just cannot find anyone willing to take them into their company. Is it age, or is it ability, or is it that older folk cost too much compared to younger ones? And there are probably thousands of people who find their work depressing or just too hard and become ill or suffer burn-out.
We need to get many more people into jobs because there are 2 immediate benefits for the country when each person enters or re-enters the labour market:
- Tax revenues will increase.
- That person has a good chance of feeling happier just because he or she has a job. That is one less depressed person sitting at home doing less that what they are capable of doing.
Most of us would agree, without any hesitation, that doing your share in the office, or at the factory, and on the road is the only way we can guarantee and efficient and sustainable society. These taxes paid by working people and companies fund education, healthcare, care of the elderly and security. Without these basic services Finland cannot stay ahead of the game in this global markets.
Over 44 years I have had several really interesting jobs in 6 different countries. Not all the jobs have been exciting – many of the bosses were awful and some colleagues were unpleasant.
I retired 6 years ago at 65 years and decided that there was no point in spending all my time playing golf, sitting on a beach in Portugal, gardening, or looking after the grandchildren. I decided that working without the boss and assistants would be interesting and so I started investing in small companies to help them grow and develop. I also decided to become a board member at a school, and teach myself Mandarin by doing one hours homework every day, which I have done for the last 6 years. I also decided to become an official freelance journalist, and ended up becoming accredited with the government.
It’s great to be without a boss and without anyone working for me. My long work experience in dealing with different challenges and with thousands of people means that calling on clients and working as an advisor is actually a joy now – nobody is forcing me to do anything and I am receiving a pension at the same time. I do not have to work for money, but it is nice to have something extra, while having a more active social life with a more diverse group of people!
But what really annoys me is the fact that I am paying a higher tax percent than before even though my pension is much smaller than my last wage. The government should consider giving a big percentage reduction for pensioners because that would create a new tax revenue from an ever growing number of pensioners.
Believe me, there is a huge difference between sitting at home watching silly TV shows compared to interesting and demanding work in an office. Working means that you have to walk somewhere, interact with others, and have a real social life.
I am willing to bet there are many thousands perfectly able pensioners would love to work and make some extra money and that would slow down those debilitating illnesses related to loneliness and depression with a big cost savings for the taxpayers’ healthcare bill.
By Nicholas Anderson – First published in Swedish, October 2019 in Affärsmagasinet Forum / Forum Business Magazine