Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day One Hundred Twenty Seven

sabbatical (from Latin sabbaticus, from Greek sabbatikos, from Hebrew shabbat, i.e., Sabbath, literally a "ceasing") is a rest from work, or a hiatus, often lasting from two months to a year.

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:

Italy42 days
France37 days
Germany35 days
Brazil34 days
United Kingdom28 days
Canada26 days
Korea25 days
Japan25 days
U.S.13 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

Quote Challenge 
Don Vardo Plans
Gypsy Tour Map


  1. Perfect... enjoy your sabbatical!

  2. Well, I don't exactly get one. You see, a sabbatical is paid time off. I'm going to have the opposite of a sabbatical in that I'll be extremely poor while taking time away from working. :-)

  3. Dear friend, I adore your blog. It is meaningful, insightful and fun. I'm thinking you need to own businesses! You get to pick your time off, and you get to pick if you get paid or not. I can see the gypsy wagon becoming a Brinks Truck as you travel, create, sell, rest, play and get paid!

  4. Well, if you can see it then I know it will happen. Traveling, creating, selling, resting and playing while getting paid sounds like a wonderful life, doesn't it. Your vote of confidence is much appreciated. Thank you thank you thank you, friend.



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