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The Experience of Retirement Paperback – November 3, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: ILR Press Book
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: ILR Press (November 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801472520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801472527
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #299,627 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this sympathetic but hardly groundbreaking study, Weiss captures the middle-class transition to retirement, a stage that proves less golden than complicated, conflicted and diverse. Based on interviews with 89 retirees from professional careers who live in the Boston suburbs, the book presents much of the data in the interviewees' own words. This gives the book emotional and textual immediacy, as the retirees voice their feelings of obsolescence and social isolation and their difficulties missing the daily structure previously provided by the workplace. However, Weiss notes that volunteerism, part-time jobs, hobbies and, for some, a strong marriage can at least partially offset the social connections and sense of identity many people lose when they stop working. He contextualizes the confessional passages with sociological analysis, concluding that retirement planning requires more than just financial forethought. Preparation for the psychological and sociological toll is just as important for professionals exiting the workforce. Weiss provides no magic formulas for retirement planning, just a better understanding of the emotional pitfalls that future retirees can anticipate, and that their family, friends and colleagues can help them combat. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Based on interviews with 89 retirees from professional careers . . . the book presents much of the data in the interviewees' own words. This gives the book emotional and textual immediacy, as the retirees voice their feelings of obsolescence and social isolation and their difficulties missing the daily structure previously provided by the workplace. However, Weiss notes that volunteerism, part-time jobs, hobbies and, for some, a strong marriage can at least partially offset the social connections and sense of identity many people lose when they stop working. . . . Weiss provides . . . a better understanding of the emotional pitfalls that future retirees can anticipate, and that their family, friends, and colleagues can help them combat."—Publishers Weekly, 12 September 2005

"This marvelous book provides a fascinating look at the experiences of men and women as they make the transition from work to retirement. It's full of interesting life stories coupled with valuable advice for people approaching retirement."—Jill Quadagno, author of One Nation, Uninsured: Why the US Has No National Health Insurance

"This is a sensitive, thoughtful, and highly readable chronicle of the ways people move from their career jobs to and through retirement. Robert S. Weiss is a leading scholar of careers, work, and now retirement. He draws on his considerable insights and analytical skills to capture the multilayered meanings, gains, and losses this status passage invokes in people from a variety of occupations and life circumstances. The Experience of Retirement is a must-read for men and women'on the verge' of this key life transition."—Phyllis Moen, McKnight Presidential Chair in Sociology, University of Minnesota, coauthor of The Career Mystique

"The Experience of Retirement illuminates how people experience the transition to retirement, with special attention to the financial, interpersonal, and emotional dimensions of this process. It is fluidly written and well-organized and will appeal to current and prospective retirees as well as scholars and practitioners in the fields of gerontology, social planning, and labor relations."—Joel S. Savishinsky, Ithaca College, author of Breaking the Watch: The Meanings of Retirement in America

" 'Is there life after retirement?' In The Experience of Retirement, Robert S. Weiss puts a human face on current workplace trends. By brilliantly using in-depth interviewing techniques and analysis to depict retirees' status 'on the ground,' Weiss makes a compelling case for questioning the incongruence of modern workplace trends such as downsizing,reorganization, and 'voluntary' retirement with public policies that aim to support and sustain quality of 'after-work' life. This applies especially to today's career women who are disproportionately burdened by financial and health-care costs later in life that stem both from the gender pay gap and time out from work for care giving. The Experience of Retirement takes its readers on the retirees' journeys through the web of social relations at work, in the family, and in the community. Across a broad spectrum of social and economic issues, the author reveals the realities retirees must confront, such as: financial security, quality health care, establishment of new routines and meaningful activities, ways to cope with the loss of a work community, and explaining these work/life changes to family members and friends. This book is critical reading for new retirees, as well as individuals either anticipating or confronted with the dilemma of voluntary or forced retirement. It is also a comprehensive resource for academics and practitioners, such as human resource directors, managers, and health-care professionals. The Experience of Retirement is both an important research contribution to the literature and a guidebook for what we can anticipate."—Francine Moccio, Institute for Women and Work, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
As a career consultant and former academic, I am a great admirer of Robert Weiss. I continue to recommend Learning From Strangers to students who want to learn qualitative research. And I am of an age when retirement can be a realistic option for the current or near future.

So naturally I looked forward to this book, hoping for new insights and ideas.

Experience of Retirement is based on interviews with a sample of retired people in the Greater Boston area. As the author explains, most were chosen from middle class neighborhoods, although a few self-selected after reading about the study. The book itself comes from depth interviews with these retirees, divided into chapters based on typical retirement issues.

Perhaps the best part of the book comes in the Introductioon, where the author reflects on his own retirement. Unfortunately, the rest of the book seems as prosaic (and almost as dated) as the gold watch pictured on the front cover. Authors rarely get to choose their own cover art, so we have to ask why the publishers chose a stereotypical image for a book that questions retirement stereotypes.

Because the interviewees were chosen to be "typical" or "ordinary" middle class retirees, their stories are, well, typical. It's not realistic to generalize beyond this rather narrow sample and in any case, their insights just aren't that profound or novel. Retirees enjoy extended breakfast hours...well, okay, but so what?

The biggest gap of the book is the lack of reference to single, never-married retirees. Some interviewees have been divorced or widowed, but I don't recall references to bachelors.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By College professor on March 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
excellent book on the experience of retirement.... i only wish i had read it before i took early retirment from college teaching.... makes me feel a lot saner reading the interviews in this book!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I will be using this book as a text in a course entitled "Exploring Retirement" in the Five College Learning in Retirement Program. I had been hunting for a useful book to discuss issues important to retirees, and when I found Robert Weiss's text (why do you put David Eckerdt as the author? He wrote the foreword, but is not the author.), I knew I had found the perfect book. Weiss is not only knowledgeable, but writes with great clarity and intersperses his text with telling commentary from his sources. It made me re-think many issues pertaining to my own retirement. Can't recommend this book highly enough.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By ultimate shopper on September 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was a gift for my husband and was recommended by a friend. It arrived in a few days.
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