From the Publisher

Taking a Sabbatical

BeverlyDenver_thumbAbout this time last year, I decided to approach “this summer” differently. Instead of taking a major vacation – one that would be draining both physically and financially – I would take a sabbatical. 

I’ve always believed “life is too short to live it with regrets” and “if given chances we should take them.” It’s been easy to apply these mantras to my work. I’ve taken risks, done my own thing and said ‘yes’ to opportunities when they presented themselves. And, doing so, has served me well. 

But, sadly, I’ve not always applied the “life is short” philosophy to my personal life. Devoting dedicated blocks of time to be with friends and family or enjoy one’s own interests is difficult.

There’s always something going on in this big city, and requests for media coverage are constant. Often times, my saying “yes” to requests is saying “no” to me! Too easily I feel like an observer of life, instead of an active participant. When this happens, I get annoyed easily and become downright crabby. My half-full glass of joy starts to look empty. Not good! 

So, this June, I’m taking a four-week, micro-sabbatical. I will relax a bit, see friends I don’t see often enough and do fun things I never seem to squeeze onto my calendar. 

As I was preparing for my break from work, I did some research online. With the help of Google, I learned a lot. I found several good articles and blogs; all provided advice about how to prepare for a sabbatical, how long it should last, how best to use your time away. One blog post, entitled “100 Things to Do on Your Business Sabbatical,” caught my eye. The author, Jamison White, listed things like this:

• Circuit Iceland by car.
• Learn to walk on fire.
• Kayak the Pacific Ocean.
• Track puma in Argentina.
• Climb the highest peaks in the U.S.
• Live and work on a coffee farm in Guatemala.
• Attend a triathlon training camp.

I thought, “He’s got to be kidding! If I tried to do any one of these things, I woudl need my head examined!” Right then, I made a list of my own. It includes:

• Go to the beach.
• Read for pleasure.
• Spend a rainy day in my PJs.
• Watch the Hallmark channel.
• Go swimming at my friend’s pool.
• Read for pleasure.
• Spend a cloudy day in my PJs.
• Watch HGTV.
• Return to the beach.

I will spare you the rest of my list. But, you must know; it was long and shamelessly void of challenge or ambition.

My online research confirmed what I already knew about sabbaticals; they are commonly taken by those in medicine and academia, but not so much by those in business. I learned, though, that things are changing. Some companies are now providing paid or partially paid sabbaticals for long-term employees. They contend a sabbatical rewards good work and eases burnout. It creates a kinder, gentler workforce. I love that!

So, inspired by the results of my Google search, I’m taking my first-ever sabbatical. I’m viewing it as research — the kind most needed by me.

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