I recently read a brief piece titled The Sabbatical by Denise Gershbein. (full text available at http://designmind.frogdesign.com/articles/work-life/the-sabbatical.html). I commend her for sharing this. It has encouraged me to share my own downtime experience.
For many hard working focused individuals, the notion of a sabbatical can range from an elusive dream to completely irresponsible and everything in between. After fifteen years of management consulting – eleven of which I was employed by a top tier audit and advisory firm – I embarked on bigger dreams in smaller organizations. For me this was truly eye-opening. I took for granted the more progressive position larger more established organizations took in cultural development. While smaller organizations are much more nimble and lack bureaucracy (both almost always good things) there is, in my experience, a lag in the adoption of forward looking thinking and long term development. Since survival might appear more doubtful and tenuous, fear and insecurity can drive decision-making. This might not always be inappropriate for smaller firms. (For clarity, I do not suggest that large firms need not make adjustments in response to environmental changes. They may have the benefit of size to think more long-term and/or size necessitates longer-term thinking. Either way, their response profile is conspicuously different.) I soon realized that I made missteps in transitioning from one modus operandi to the other. This was my breaking point. My proclivities towards more enlightened and progressive philosophies led to undesirable outcomes. From this, I learned a lot – and therefore, something was gained for sure.
While not planned, this led to some time ‘unplugged’ from work to engage in both generative and recuperative sabbaticals – self funded and self imposed. During this time I did not travel much. I did did however, engross myself with books and articles. I reread parts of a few books from my MBA courses. I was, at many times, introspective to better identify my best self from what I have experienced and learned up to this point in my life. Basically, the last six months were a retooling of sorts of thought and intellect. Some might find this wasteful or irresponsible. With every gram of respect, having gone through this experience, I shall disagree. Upon returning to work, a pursuit with which I am now vigorously engaged, I am now more emboldened to better appreciate my environment as I effectively contribute to organizational growth and development. This is how I put extended time-off to valuable use.
I welcome you to read the article in the link at the top of this post. I also welcome you to share your feedback either to this post or to the post of the article itself.
Thanks for reading. Have a Great Day!