Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Is it just me or does anyone else find it absurd that American employees are willing to accept a measly 2 weeks of vacation time when so many other countries give a month or more? Not only that, but we'll use that time to paint our house or reorganize the closet instead of taking advantage of the chance to relax, rejuvenate, and see something new! We just don't have the same respect & understanding for the benefits of travel that other cultures do.

It's practically a requirement for Australians to head out on a year long "O.E." (overseas experience) at some point during their college years. Their friends & families know they'll come back a more independent, more well-rounded person with an appreciation for other ways of life.

And it's not just students that need this time of discovery either. I think the idea of taking an extended break from work (a sabbatical) is also finally starting to gain some ground. A sabbatical is basically a rest from your career lasting anywhere from 2 months to a year. It's typically reserved for those in the academic professions, but I've heard that employers like Google have started implementing similar programs for their employees. Supposedly after 5 years or so with the company, you can take a few months of paid time off if you present a summary of your work during your time off. I applaud their foresight! Who among us couldn't use some time to reflect & recharge? You can see why a lot of employers don't do it- without good planning and the right mindset, it could be a huge waste of time at the company's expense, but why let those few slackers ruin a great thing? I'd even settle for an unpaid sabbatical with the promise that your job would be held for you when you return.

I have a friend about to embark on her own "sabbatical" of sorts and she's really struggling with how to explain it to her boss & colleagues without sounding immature or unsatisfied with her current position. Personally, I think that instead she'll be enhancing her career & bringing a whole new perspective to it. Especially in a design profession, like she and I share, she'll be able to glean all sorts of new sources for inspiration in her work, new experiences to draw from, and a chance to really cultivate her creative side. I think any good employer would recognize that, encourage her, and welcome her back with open arms, wishing all the while that they had the courage to go do it themselves.

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