COPE CopeLine Supervisor

May 2019

Your Wellness & Work-Life Newsletter

Peter Drucker on Work and Life

Peter Drucker, "the father of modern management," revolutionized business practices, transforming management theory into a widely accepted discipline. He was among the first to address the emergence of the information age and coined the term "knowledge worker." Yet as far-reaching as his contributions were, most people are not familiar with his teachings on personal growth or what he called self-management. Here are a few of his thoughts:

Create a Total Life. Drucker believed in the value of having diverse interests, relationships and pursuits. He viewed the benefits as practical in that a setback in one area of your life---a layoff, for example---would be managed through other areas of strength and support.

Self-Development. Self-development is a major theme in Drucker's work. "What matters," he said, "is that the knowledge worker, by the time he or she reaches middle age, has developed and nourished a human being rather than a tax accountant or hydraulic engineer." He advised that you think about your life, both as it is now and how you imagine it in the future. Assess what's working, what's not, what you want to add or subtract for greater fulfillment.

Identify and Develop Your Unique Strengths. The concept of core competencies may have been created for organizations, but it applies to individuals, too. Drucker urged people to articulate their strengths, at work and outside of work, and then to focus on those core strengths and find new ways to cultivate them. Doing so he said, would lead to more satisfying and diverse work, whether paid or volunteer.

Create a Parallel and/or Second Career. "The purpose of the work on making the future in not to decide what should be done tomorrow, but what should be done today to have a tomorrow," says Drucker. He advocated for parallel careers, volunteering in areas such as teaching, writing or management in nonprofit organizations. He also encouraged having a second career, doing similar work but in a different setting. A lawyer, for example, might move from a traditional law firm to a legal nonprofit devoted to a meaningful cause.

Exercise Your Generosity. "...everybody is a leader, everybody is responsible, everybody acts," Drucker says. Sharing your time and talents by getting involved in community, social entrepreneurship, and mentoring allows you to help others and yourself. Connecting with people who share your interests will broaden and deepen your experiences and expand your circle of friends and colleagues. Conversely, if you try something and don't like it, practice what Drucker termed systematic abandonment---stepping back periodically to determine which of your present activities should be scaled back or eliminated.

Teach and Learn. Education was key to Drucker's vision of a strong, functioning society. He believed that we should never stop learning. "No one learns as much as the person who must teach his subject."

Make Time for Thinking. Drucker observed that thinking can be hard work, especially in a fast-paced society. But he urged his followers to break periodically from their daily schedules and to take stock of where they are and where they are headed. You might not be able to actualize his "week in the wilderness" but you can take some leisure time for self-reflection.

Source:Bruce Rosenstein, Living in More than One World: How Peter Drucker's Wisdom Can Inspire and Transform Your Life (Berrett-Koehler, 2009)

Social Security: A Base on Which to Build Retirement.

The social welfare and insurance programs created by it are---for the foreseeable future---a valuable base on which to build your retirement.

The risk of running out of money during your lifetime depends in large part on the size of your future Social Security payments. Benefits are based on lifetime earnings and are adjusted over time to reflect your 35 highest earning years. If you stop work to go back to school or to raise a family, a zero is assigned for each year without earnings. Even if you have a full 35 years of earnings, some of those years may be low earnings years. Low earnings years are averaged in, creating a lower benefit. Your average will improve, however, as you replace the lowest earning years by working longer and/or earning more later in your career. To find out what your estimated benefits will be, create an online account at and check it periodically.

Ask Larry, The Social Security Guy. Featured regularly in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and on PBS, Larry Kotlikoff answers many questions about Social Security benefits such as why marital status matters, and why you shouldn't take social security early.

Cope Incorporated