Last week, Lloyd Graff wrote a blog called “What Brings Me to Work,” which we think will speak to a lot of you out there, people who work in a family business, and people of retirement age who keep working—not because they have to, but because they get to.
Maybe you’ve read the blog already, but even if you have, we think you will enjoy hearing it in podcast form, being read by the man who wrote it.
Link to Graff-Pinkert’s Acquisitions and Sales promotion!
Why am I still working when most of my peers have retired or are counting the days until they can play golf or do needlepoint?
I’ve answered the question many times, but I usually doubt that people get it or even want to get it. I will try to do it again as honestly as I can, so even I can really “get it.”
First, I need people in my life. I need connection and competition. Working connects me with people who like me, who respect me, and make me smile. Watching TV or sleeping or living in dread of getting sick and dying is what I would do if I retired.
If I could play tennis or golf or exercise that might be a substitute, but I cannot because seven retina surgeries rob me of my depth perception, arthritis in my knees and feet deprive me of motion, and strenuous exercise causes a form of migraine syndrome.
I’m not into canasta or chess.
What I can do is connect with people, write stuff that some folks find worth reading, and do what I like to call “connecting the dots,” which means weaving ideas together to create something new.
Watching television, even baseball or basketball, cannot do that for me.
“Connecting the dots,” the creative process, is second nature to me. If I could not do it almost every day, I fear I would have dementia within weeks. It may happen anyway, but I believe deeply that working, connecting the dots, and interacting with other people keeps me interesting, at least to myself, and hopefully my family.
The other big thing about working is interacting with my son Noah.
Noah listens to me, challenges me, argues, and loves me for the person I am. We sit across a big table, the same one I sat across with my father.
I consider this interaction a fantastic gift that I somehow received. I know it is temporary and could quickly melt away, so I try to cherish it.
I had it to some degree with my own father, but it was more argumentative and draining. What we did have was respect for each other and recognition of the other’s strengths.
Noah probably derives more joy and energy than I did with my father. I am nicer than my dad with fewer demons and a happier relationship with my wife. I want to continue to work as long as I think I am pretty good at the creative part.
When deals are more elusive, as they are now, work is more difficult. But I still want to do it. I know the next good deal will be tomorrow. The next bad one too.
But every day brings new dots to connect, new folks to meet, and usually a chance to share thoughts with my son, Noah. I live in gratitude for that.
Question: What brings you to work everyday?