The influence of traditional social structures such as neighbourhoods and local organisations has declined. The workplace has become the “new neighbourhood” and has become increasingly important for maintaining social interaction and forming relationships. A new article in Personal Relationships finds that those who retired just ten years ago, at the beginning of the 21st century, were more likely to maintain (or even gain) work-related personal ties after retirement, than were those who retired in the 1990’s. Furthermore, a majority of more recent retirees have at least one work-related tie in their personal network. This finding applies to both male and female retirees.
Lead author Rabina Cozijnsen explains the findings, “We found that those who retired more recently were more likely to maintain at least one personal tie after retirement than those who retired earlier. In other words we discovered that a particular relationship at work was so important that they decided to continue the relationship. Retirement is often seen as a very disruptive life event. The notion that people lose their work-related ties after retirement, because they no longer see one another at work, needs to be reconsidered, in terms of well-being and the aging process.”
Previous studies have shown that people tend to lose these ties following retirement when they no longer see one another at work. The authors of the current study examined how retirement influences personal ties that have been primarily developed at work, comparing the post-retirement personal lives of participants who retired between 1992 and 1995 with persons who retired between 2002 and 2005. The data for this study is based on the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA).
The authors hypothesize that the reason for this shift in the division of work and personal life can be accounted for due to a move towards increased individualization on a societal level, and an increased importance in developing and maintaining personal and professional networks throughout life.