Almost Everyone On Their Deathbed Regrets Working Too Much

regrets working too muchAn Australian nurse, who spent years counseling men and women at their deathbeds, recorded their revelations and regrets on her blog, which she's now turned into a book, "The Top Five Regrets of the Dying." The most common regrets, she found, were doing what others expected of you over what you truly wanted, suppressing your feelings, losing touch with old friends, and choosing comfort over true happiness. And at No. 2: wishing you hadn't worked so hard.

"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship," the nurse, Bronnie Ware, writes.

Because Ware was mostly caring for people of an older generation, the women usually weren't the breadwinners, and so expressed this feeling less. But every single man uttered the same lament. "All the men I nursed," Ware writes, "deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."

Women are increasingly becoming breadwinners though; women contribute an average of 42 percent to the household income in 2009, according to a report from the progressive think tank, Center for American Progress. But there are signs that these women, and younger men, won't sacrifice family life for their jobs the way their parents and grandparents may have.

Many studies have found that Generation Y -- the generation currently in college and entering the workforce -- prefers working to live over living to work, and are choosing companies that understand that. They've rejected the idea of work-life balance, according to Gustav Grodnitzky, a management consultant who specializes in these issues. And instead seek a "blended life" where "everything they do has meaning and is important -- hence, the importance of purpose and cause -- and it doesn't matter where the work gets done but that it gets done."

In the words of Lara Sherbin, the director of research at the nonprofit think tank, Center for Work-Life Policy: "Generation Y looked at how their parents lived, and are saying 'I don't want to do that, I don't want that life for myself.'"

But even the men and women who look back with sadness at how hard they worked, and what they lost as a result, come to terms with it in the end. Ware witnessed this herself. "People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality," she writes. "I learnt never to underestimate someone's capacity for growth. Some changes were phenomenal. Each experienced a variety of emotions, as expected, denial, fear, anger, remorse, more denial and eventually acceptance. Every single patient found their peace before they departed though, every one of them."



Next: The World Agrees: Working From Home Is Good For Women



Don't Miss: Companies Hiring Now



Stories from Personal Branding Blog

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

23 Comments

Filter by:
flippinlady

try working at McDonalds. now there is something wrong with NO Breaks unless there is no business or people to cater to. UNLESS of course you are a MINOR who cannot work over 4 hours without a 45 minute break. On your feet for 5-9 hours with maybe ONE rushed potty piss is labor law outlaw.

March 12 2012 at 3:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Igor Grankov

Huh... People changing

February 27 2012 at 4:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dvdfrnzwbr

Women, I mean money, is the root of all evil.

February 07 2012 at 2:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dvdfrnzwbr's comment
Furla Girl

The love of money is the root of all evil.

February 26 2012 at 11:53 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
slop9124

I'm not on the death bed yet, but probable a little closer than I would have been had I not spent soo much time on the job as a bus driver for greyhound. I should have listened to the doctor when he said working like that is beyond the limits of human endurance. You spent a lot of time working the extra board when in the early years. That means you're on call and subject to working all hours day and night and never the same ..,... you don't get to eat right, sleep right and talk about job stress. I was taught to allways give it 100% and then some to prove you were a good employee, that may have been true 40 or 50 years ago but these days, just do a good job and remember most companies today only care about money and employees for the most part are just a number, I learned that beginning in the early 80's and finally threw in the towel in 2002. My kids grew up while I was gone all the time and my health suffered.. I went through pay and benefit cuts amounting to more than 35% over the years, so I was going backwards instead of gaining. My experience came to mean little and the loyalty meant nothing to the new management. My advise, get a job you enjoy and be good at it but don't kill yourself even if the price is tempting and if you have a family don't let the job become more important than them............

February 07 2012 at 2:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
efvann

Working too much?! Yeah, right. If they did that they were not the brightest candles in the room. Work too hard, possibly. Work too long, that too. But too much? I'd say that was too much.

February 07 2012 at 12:49 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
ctelrap

It reminds me of a very old joke: No one on their deathbed ever said " I wish I'd spent more time at the office."

February 07 2012 at 12:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
csmjwoody

I don't have to wait for my death bed for tht statement.I knew that when I retired. I really regret working so much and the hours it took me away from my family. Yes I'm still alive and Yes I spend a lot more time with them and my grandchildren but that does not come close to making up for all the things and events I missed in my Childrens lives when they were young. But we do what we think we have to do to provide for them and to give them things we did not have as children. But in the long run I really believe they would have liked to have us in their lives more than I was with mine.

February 07 2012 at 12:33 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
socalflash

I think about the people that work long, hard hours all their life and still are broke when they retire.
They could have had the same result by working less hours and enjoying their life.

February 07 2012 at 12:14 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Mehtahnae

Someone shared an African proverb with me today, and it relates well to this topic.
"When death finds you, may it find you alive."
Some people die long before their bodies do, and when death comes they are already dead.
But those who live and love in all they do...death will find them very much alive :o).
I plan on being in the latter group.

February 06 2012 at 11:58 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mehtahnae's comment
edandjenny492808

Thanks for sharing this wonderful African proverb.

February 07 2012 at 1:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Been There

I regret working too hard for long hours, little pay at MACY"S, aside from being pushed around, bending to their every beckon and call, on top of 2 other jobs! ! Then got hurt on the job there and was REALLY sorry! Way they treat legitimately hurt workers is worst then the injury itself! If you get hurt badly enough, ending up with permanent disability and put on Social Security Disability, they will fight you tooth and nail for years in court with their lying DRs, phoney baloney IME exams and relentless lawyers, thanks to their ruthless claims adjusters (who sit at their desks giving orders and paying people off, so they DO NOT have to pay YOU Workers Comp, dumping you onto the government!

February 06 2012 at 10:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Been There's comment
graywolf2360

Sad part is, they'd probably spend less money on paying the workers comp!

February 06 2012 at 11:04 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Search Articles

Top Companies Hiring

Week of Oct 26 - Nov 2
View All

Featured Writers

Meet the team

Picks From the Web