False Truths: Can you believe this?

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series False Truths
Tombstone I wish I had spent more time at the office

JUST KIDDING (but it sure makes you think). These days, Google lists a whole host of “tombstone generators” like the one that produced this mock up.

Note from Dr. Wayne Baker: This week, we welcome columnist Terry Gallagher for a series on popular assumptions that … perhaps we should question. Here’s Terry …

How often have you heard this? “No one ever said on his deathbed ‘I wish I’d spent more time at the office.’”

Most often attributed to best-selling author Rabbi Harold Kushner, the expression seems to mean that we should focus on things more important than work, like family or community.

While it may be true that you don’t hear anyone saying on their deathbed that they wished they spent more time working—you might hear it said by the stereotypical Wal-Mart greeters, retirees who are forced back into the labor market because their savings are running out.

The Great Recession has pushed back retirement plans for many workers, according to a poll released last fall by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

“Stung by a recession that sapped investments and home values . . . . older Americans appear to have accepted the reality of a retirement that comes later in life and no longer represents a complete exit from the workforce,” according to a report on the poll.

And you know what? A lot of people enjoy working, and find meaning in their work.

In a critique of the deathbed-regret cliché, career adviser Ruth Graham wrote: “The thing is, if you’re an ambitious person and/or you think you have something to contribute to the world, why is it so impossible to imagine you’d look back on your professional life and think, ‘I could have done more’?”

So what do you think of today’s False Truth?

Do you enjoy your work too much to give it up?

What other False Truths do you wish people would quit repeating?

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