No doubt: Word is getting out. Sabbaticals are not a secret anymore. From bad times, sometimes, comes great innovations. Maybe that’s what’s happening as some GM plants try to keep skilled workers, give them a break, and try new ways to survive this global meltdown.
As the Times reports,
The move is also expected to sweep across other manufacturing industries as companies try to hold on to staff but reduce the cost of paying them. Vauxhall’s Merseyside plant is offering the 4,500 employees a sabbatical of up to nine months on 30 per cent of their pay.
To be sure, this may be an offer many workers CAN refuse. But for those with the creativity, resources, and faith, a reduced-pay BreakAway may be the upside to the downturn.
Here’s the deal: Sabbaticals happen. If you are open to them. They may not arrive at the perfect time, but is there a perfect time for anything? Think about the events (good and bad) that often arrive in a surprise package: Babies; accidents; winning lottery tickets; new love.
Zen philosophy holds that many life lessons and improvements originate from “the bad thing.” It’s in time of crisis and misery that conditions force us to look seek strength, open up, and dig our way out of dilemmas. Or as TV Preacher Extraordinaire Robert Schuller puts it,
Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.
Also exciting are the other many ways that corporations are trying to retain staff and innovate their way out of this mess, from shorter shifts and four-day work weeks to “flextiming.” Forced flex time, if you will: Take some weeks off now, and pay back those yours later when the economy is no longer hitting the brakes.
Elmer Anderson, a Minnesota treasure who started a Fortune 500 company and also served as governor, would say that a company will thrive if it takes care of its customers first, its employees second, and profit third. What a brilliant way to show that if you put people first (but not just yourselves), success will follow.
Could that be what the car companies–and other hurting employers–are now doing? Suddenly, people with skills are a hot commodity, not just a trade-able commodity.
With any luck, some employees will embrace this opportunity. While they may not have the resources to fly off to a dream destination, maybe there are other life-list goals they can actualize.
When times are good, it’s easy to take jobs for granted–if not complain about the hard work and long hours. Things are different now. Let’s hope the car companies can find ways to survive, some employees can embrace the gift of free time, and all can emerge in a better place when things get better. Which they always do.