I want to go on record as saying I think the inventor of the sabbatical, be he/she a Roman, Greek or Jew was a frickin' genius. I mean REALLY. When I think about what I am embarking on and scrutinize my motives it really does boil down to being tired of working. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my work. I love what I do, how I do it, who I do it for. The problem with work, however, is that it is so unbelievably relentless. It has that in common with parenting. So a sabbatical is a period of time that is unlike the little one week vacations that Americans typically get, or the long weekend or, for the very fortunate, a three week vacation. A sabbatical is a break that lasts from two months to a year. On Fortune's list of the 100 best companies to work for, 22 offer fully paid sabbaticals of various lengths. They are most common in academia.
So what gives? Why would a company do this? I could go and do some internet research looking for answers but it seems fairly obvious to me that the reasons are:
Letting people expand their horizons beyond the workplace in a meaningful way makes them more well rounded and less prone to burn out.
Who wouldn't be loyal to an employer who afforded them such a great benefit? Turnover is one of the most expensive personnel costs a company can incur.
People don't go nuts as often if they know they have a sabbatical on the horizon. They don't go out and build gypsy wagons and run away from home for instance.
I have a friend who works for Intel in California and she is coming this weekend to kick off her sabbatical. It just got me thinkin'.
Here is an interesting table I found about average paid vacation days for workers around the world. I traveled extensively around Europe when I lived in Germany and hands down my favorite country was Italy. This may help explain why they were so very relaxed and fun loving:
|United Kingdom||28 days|
Here are the five items for today (yes, I came across a box of books in the garage that I stashed there a while ago):
1. Boy by Roald Dahl (who, incidentally was inspired by the Gypsy Wagon below to write Danny, the Champion of the World. His children played in this wagon and he occasionally wrote there.)
2. Through a Glass Darkly by Kathleen Koen
3. Man's Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl
4. Our Dreaming Mind by Robert L. Van de Castle, PhD.
5. Paradise by Toni Morrison