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Monday, April 23, 2012

The Unconscious Attachement to Work

Experiencing My Work/Role Attachment

         Several days ago, for about 3 hours, I moved around at Kwantlen, helping Elizabeth hang some of her paintings in an art gallery.  We then attended the “Art Show” where Elizabeth and student colleagues had their video art projects displayed.  It was an interesting experience, not the least of which was that it was held in the “theatre" where several years ago I taught one of my psychology courses.  It was all very enjoyable but something else was happening to my Kwantlen connection (attachment).
         This morning, I keyed in my kwantlen email address to find out some information about my upcoming activity as a facilitator  for TALK (Third Age Learning at Kwantlen).  I found that my email address; which I had all the time I taught at Kwantlen and continued to have since last August when I retired, has been taken away from me. 
       I felt like a baby that has had his/her bottle taken away too early.  It’s quite frustrating and is a clear representation of my continued emotional attachment to my former employer. And this is probably similar to what babies experience before they even have language.  As I think further about it, this may be how my cat feels when her dinner plate is taken away to soon. Well, back to humanity. What do I do about it?
         This afternoon (Apr 21st) as I was surfing along in my laptop, I came across a research article[i] that may shine some light on this process. I began to study the article in depth and my following comments are connected to what I found out.  This morning I got up and continued a deep breathing slow reading of the research article.  
         The study investigates “…three variables related to work-role attachment: 1) job involvement; 2) organizational commitment; and 3) career commitment.  I think organizational commitment is a key factor for me.  First there is my growing commitment to TALK-- (Third Age Learning at Kwantlen).  I find myself producing potential workshops and seminars to present in TALK's “courses.”  
          I think that my clinging to my Kwantlen Email address is an even bigger sample of my remaining attachment. I have two other email addresses and Gmail .   Up to the present I have infrequently used them. Now that I have lost the kwantlen email address I will need to use these other addresses.  One of the problems is my Kwantlen address was taken away without any warning and I therefore have lost connection with a number of important people in my life. 
          In the languge of the research article my preference for the kwantlen email is an example of my continued work-role attachment.  The researchers say “…those who identify with and are committed to their profession would view retirement as a loss of important role membership.”  Yesterday, when I first was unable to access my kwantlen email address.  I became VERY frustrated and looking at it now I can see how attached I was (am?)         
Here is the sample of items the authors used to investigate their research:
1.   I am very involved personally in my job.
2.   I consider my job to be central to my existence.
3.   My line of work/career field is an important part of who I am.

 Ask yourself these questions and see if they are useful.
      So finally I shall continue to examine this a process of human development, which has been the focus of my career development (Whoops!!!)  I hope this blog post will be useful to you.

[i] Adams, G.A. et all (2002) International Journal of aging and Human Development,             Vol 54(2) 125-137.

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