And you may ask yourself – my God – what have I done?


Letting the days go by

If you listen to the news, you may be carrying a heavy load to work today. The US has just committed  what Europe considers a reckless assassination of the most popular person in Iran, bushfires rage in Australia and we’re rolling over our local issue -Brexit and our global issue – a sick planet,  into another year of grief.

But we are also working into something new and fresh. This is the first proper working day of the new decade, the day when most of us return to our offices wearing what we got for Christmas and a couple of pounds extra round the waste. It may not feel like we’ve had a holiday, but we are probably as fresh now as we’ll be all year! Fresh to kill it at work.

For those who observe the twelve days of Christmas, like us, the decorations are still up, working in the twenties is a novel experience. Many of us will be thinking back to their first working day of 2010,  has much really changed?

Water flowing underground

I hope that if you’re reading you can complete this sentence

I’m going to work because….

Whether it be to put food on the table or to save the planet, the purpose of your going to work is why you do it, and love doing it . And if you have no purpose – then you won’t enjoy your days this week.

I’ve thought a lot about my purpose over the past decade. While you spend most of your career building towards its fulfilment, I – like many of us – reached the top of my mountain and found there wasn’t a lot to see. I had the wrong goals. Rather than slink off into half-hearted retirement , cadging a few quid here and there with an inconsequential portfolio career, I did that full-on thing and started first Pension PlayPen and now AgeWage.

I no longer define success in terms of what I can do for myself (a good part of my career I was either self-employed or sole trader) or what I can do for my career. I have earned enough and saved enough to be independent and achieve something that I can look back on with a real sense of pride.

My reason for working in the twenties, a decade I never thought I’d be working in, is to deliver on those things that I thought I’d be doing when I started as a financial adviser early  in 1983. I thought then that i could use the privildge I had of a good university education and a stable upbringing to help people make better decisions with their money and that is what I’m doing, hopefully on a larger scale today.

Into the blue again?

If your reading this- thanks. I’m thinking of you, on your way into work, reading these words on a tiny screen on your phone, you may be asking yourself “what the hell am I doing with my life?”

If you can’t answer that question, I suggest you get off at the next station, cross the track and take the next train home.

But you won’t do that – because something inside you will remind you that there is a much worse alternative to going to work, and that is not going to work – on this day.

You can kick that question down the road, day after day, but until you answer it properly, you will be a slave to work.

After the money’s gone

This is the season when we will be assailed by recruitment companies looking to capitalise on our work insecurity. Many of us will be promised a new and happier life in a new job by people who really seem to care about your “wellness”.

Let me share with you, the benefit of being 58, you will not get better inside because you work for a new company, you will get better because you want to go to work because you know why you are going to work. And that does not mean you have to change jobs.

You may find your purpose and determine that you must change jobs to achieve it, but simply changing jobs to get a pay-rise or more holiday or a shorter commute is not going to change the big things.

Back in 1983, I was asking – “what do I want to do with my twenties?” , 37 years later I’m asking what do I want to do in the twenties and – weirdly it is the same thing. That at least tells me I have has some kind of focus in my life.

But when I look back – so much of that time could and should have been better spent.

Go on linked in – look at your CV and then ask yourself again – “why am I going to work in the twenties?”

Once in a Lifetime.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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1 Response to And you may ask yourself – my God – what have I done?

  1. John Mather says:

    It is often said that “I don’t have enough time”
    As you get older you understand that you have all the time there is

    The big question who wrote your agenda for today. If it was not you and you don’t like it
    then take action

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