The global recession continues to force companies to get creative about offering–even mandating–sabbaticals to help cut costs. Which forces employees to ponder (and sometimes embrace) the concept, with mixed opinions and emotions. According to the Telegraph, over in the UK:
Increasing numbers of professionals are taking up sabbaticals offered by recession-hit firms seeking to cut costs but avoid redundancies. In return for a drop in salary of between 70 and 75 per cent, employees can take a unique opportunity to restore their work-life balance… But do the pitfalls of being away from the office outweigh the positives?”
The article by Judith Woods offers some insightful anecdotes and real-life examples of people who have chosen to say Yes. Here are some of the key themes:
- Suspicion! Naturally, some question the paradox of showing your allegiance to the company by… not coming to work.
- Fear! They also worry that those not present will be the first to go if the firing squad starts shooting.
- Joy! The savvy and lucky are flying off to exotic locales, spending time with family, and picking up their paintbrush.
- Service! Kind-hearted souls are using the gift of time to help make the world a better place: “These sabbaticals are very positive. Children in desperate need are being supported and we’re also helping our company to get out of the current crisis. As far as I’m concerned it’s a classic win-win situation.”
- Begging! No, not for money—but, and I quote one of the interviewees, “Everyone who has had a month off has been begging for it to be introduced as a permanent perk.”
Amen! Bottom line? People everywhere are learning—if by force—that there’s more to life than work, and that jobs come sans guarantees.
The good news: They’re also discovering that time is more valuable than money.