Sabbatical Shuffle

FOTOFRIDAY: Sailing into a Yachty Sunday of Yore…

Posted on: Friday, August 12th, 2022
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, Travelog, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

If the wind is right, you can sail away…and find serenity. ~Christopher Cross

When in San Fran recently, I snapped this pic, and these sailboats blew up a priceless flashback from my memory bank…

Years ago, I found myself in San Francisco on a glorious, sunny Sunday. With friends who lived there, new and old. The two main sailors had been dear friends since Day 1 of college, and had become master sailors as youth on Lake Superior. Both had embarked on major voyages—including one who’d traversed over from Europe with parents and six siblings!

  • SUB: California daydreamin’

Being spontaneous, free-living Cali types, they mused, “What a day! We should go sailing!” So we did, thanks to a boat rental firm they both knew and used. In no time, we were crashing through heavy waves and winds, ditching monstrous barges, and dodging the smart-ass, daredevil windsurfers who would dart in close to splash us (and loved to ride the barges’ tsunamis).

We started deep in the bay, running gradually against a stiff wind toward the bridge and sea. Though we had to be back by dark, Captain G said, “What do ya say, we’ve GOT to get under that bridge, right!?!”

  • Keeping an unevel keel

We all agreed, cheered the ballsy challenge, and braced ourselves. Then we tacked, leaning sideways, back and forth—sometimes barely making forward progress—and confronting evermore angry barges as the bay got skinnier and each beast seemed determined to nonchalantly wipe us out like a rambunctious boy playing with toyboats in the bathtub.

Did we make it? Of course we did. Just as the sun went down, naturally. So we enjoyed a boisterous group hug while staring up at the legendary Golden Gate Bridge, turned the vessel about, and raced back to the marina by dark (almost)—thanks to now having…the wind at our backs.

FOTOFRIDAY parable summary: The bigger the memory bank, the richer the life.

Please keep investing.

Happy sails…

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ReWorking: 4-day Workweek Making Some Steps

Posted on: Monday, August 8th, 2022
Posted in: HR FYI, Sabbatical Shuffle, Work/Life Hacking | Leave a comment

Can you even imagine how a reduction in work hours would pep up employees?

As BreakAway’s ReWorking series continues to examine how US working norms transform in a (post?) pandemic world, today we look at how the 32-hour week has been gaining a smidgen of traction. This news comes courtesy of NerdWallet, probably the best financial advice source out there.

Just ask any FA; they’ll direct you away from their firm’s website and send you straight to the $ Nerds!

  • A Cali bill, a nonprofit foundation, + employer test kitchens

The 4-day week has its cheerleaders. In California, the legislature recently kicked it around, and likely will again. Elsewhere, nonprofit 4 Day Week Global promotes the concept out of Oxford University—and has launched some pilot programs with courageous companies worldwide. And when surveyed, 92% of US employees respond they support the idea, with 79% believing it would help their mental health, while 82% even claim it would make them more productive.

  • But oh, the obstacles…

Yet the questions fly around like irksome flies in August. Most of them are obvious, and might make any CEO lose his lunch…

• What would customers and clients think—would service & sales suffer?

• Who would tend to your emails/texts/zooms/meetings?

• How could this work in a 24/7 plugged-in world?

• Would the time reduction = a pay reduction? If so, who wants that?

• Might this mean 4 10-hour workdays, and how would daycare and other support systems feel? (And could the dog hold its pee/poop?)

  • As always, alternatives abound

NerdWallet and the experts quoted are quick to point toward ways to get some relief if the #32 still lacks magic. Of course, we’ve been preaching about them here for years. But for the sake of reminders, consider these common-sense salves: Take extended weekend BreakAways; try meeting-less Fridays; schedule time periods that are telepressure-free; prioritize at least a few hours a day that are completely work-unplugged.

Will the 4-day week become a thing? Probably not in our lifetime. And yet, I know many folks who have made similar custom arrangements—because they have the power to call shots, they are in family-intense years, or just have a savvy and collegial employer. They offer role-model inspiration and hope.

Year-round 3-day weekends, everyone? Keep the drum thumping and, as always…

Keep the faith.

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Confessions from a Summer Sabbatical

Posted on: Thursday, July 21st, 2022
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, SoulTrain, Unplugging | Leave a comment

Summertime…and the livin’ is easy. (I should really trademark that…) 

Yowza! A month has flown by with nary a rant, snappy FotoFriday, or challenging jabberwocky. No wonder the landlines and faxes have been rattling; the piles have been tumbling. Well, as the youth say today, “Sorries!” It appears we here have been smoking our own Kool-Aid. Please know the inspirational backlog WILL get attention. But in the meantime…

  • Summer IS the social season…so jump in and hang on!

Sometimes, these fun-in-the-sun opportunities can become deliciously daunting obstacles to work, to chores, to…who cares? Said obstacles include lazing with the offspring. Jaunts to old haunts. Grooving with nature. Melt-your-mind sundowns and full-moon cruises. Grad parties where the real hootin’ begins after the cake {not keg} is gone. And best of all—whether at all-day music fests, faraway hometowns, or bucolic docks—the reunions of old friends. Nothing better.

Yep, BreakAway ditches the 2dew lists and shuns the ole’ rolodex when the pontoon party spontaneously pulls up. I mean, isn’t that what we really preach here in this passion project? Breaking away matters more than keeping up with the inbox. Even the interns agree! (Or so their emojis suggest…)

  • A quiet word from a sponsor: Purpose

Work is real. Purpose is important. And aspirations kick ass. We don’t mean to become a symbol of shirking. Seriously! (End of serious message.)

But really, if life is short, summer is a snap. So protect your priorities. Chase your bliss. As Mr. Ray (the cantankerous, hilarious, and wise-as-owls Maitre D’hotel who schooled countless of us hospitality pros) would say, “I’m the luckiest man in the world…because I have so many friends.”

Family, first of course. And then…Friends make life beautiful! It’s good to have people. So one ground rule of my summer games is simple: Never say no to a social invitation. To quote the St. Paul Saints: Fun is Good!

  • Not to worry…BreakAway updates aplenty await!

We will catch up. We will survive. We are excited about new contacts, buzzing opportunities, and an almost-urgent wealth of ideas and topics. To tease out just a few…

ReWorking (the series) will tell all about Casual Fridays morphing into Home Fridays…and summer Fridays off!

…and then offer updates on the work-at-home (R)evolution…the 4-day workweek movement…employers finally blessing baby & family leaves…and more!

And for the kids (and their parents), as Covid wanes, we’re witnessing a wave of gap years, live-at-home reboots, and a rethinking of education and lifestyle options.

  • Embrace today; tomorrow will wait

One message still rings loud and too true: A person never knows just how many days/years life will promise. (Just ask us cancer survivors!) So seize the play. Retire now and then. Seek and capture your preferred BreakAways when in reach. You’ll thank yourself, and your Gods. You’ll feel better. And we (if not Mr. Bossman)will still love you!

WHEN (not if) tomorrow comes…Please watch for backfills, updates, breaking stuff, revised top copy, more killer photos, new carousel combos, and emphatic permission to board whatever boat floats you to your happy place.

Thanks for listening. And for your patience. And above all,

Follow the light…

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FOTOFRIDAY: Have a Day in San Fran’s Tadich Grill

Posted on: Friday, June 17th, 2022
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, Travelog, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

This shot offers a rare view of the iconic seafood joint at rest, since the place is always packed to the, er, gills.

Few destinations promise a mini-BreakAway as intoxicating as a good restaurant. Especially for those of us that have worked (and visited) dining establishments as a way of life and, at times, obsession.

Tadish Grill, serving San Francisco since 1849, fits the bill. As their website states and your experience confirms, you get Large Portions…Fresh Ingredients…Fun atmosphere. I loved it, but so obviously did every other person cherishing their lost-in-time meal there. Even the waiters were like something from a Bogart movie. Talk about great people watching!

So I spent a day there last winter when on vakay in SF. Yes, a day. I met a few longtime friends for late lunch. One, a regular patron, had arranged a spacious, private booth. We lingered over a long, luscious meal of seafood courses and fine California wines. As the lunch crowd slowly left, we stayed on. Until we were the only table left…and this picture became possible.

At around 4:00, people started trickling in again. And the place became full by 5. The wine kept pouring, the conversation moreso. We actually pondered staying on for dinner. But, no, we eventually found the bright, busy streets. And stopped in to enjoy a few classic hotel bars for more conviviality and catching up as the day turned to night.

You can’t do this kind of BreakAway often. But I’ll remember the experience as long as I live. And with any luck, have another chance some day to return to Tadish.

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Travel Just Got Easier…So Think Small!

Posted on: Wednesday, June 15th, 2022
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle | Leave a comment

Cities Provide a Bridge to more Bucolic Places.

  • You don’t need a (-) Covid test to go home again. So head out of—and into—the country.

I know, Covid is so yesterday.

And yet, when traveling internationally of late, the negative-test requirement to get back in the US was very much a today problem—figuring out where to get the test, coordinating within a clinic’s schedule, obtaining the proper documents, and (of course) getting an actual negative. Waiting for the results would make the heart pound.

After all, for years now many people carry on with Covid and don’t even know it.

  • It’s a big old world but…small is beautiful

Many folks are itching to get away. And ready to spend…and stand in line…and fight for a table…and hope for a ticket to that world-famous museum.

Good for them, right? Well, sure. Do that. But then, IMHO, leave the city and see the real country. And people. Find the eatery where the owners ask your name—and join you for homemade limoncello after dinner. Walk the trails that offer vast views of nature, not just urban sprawl. Rent the car that gets lost. By the sea, in the mountain, or with the villagers who are giddy to meet someone actually wants to meet them, not Mona Lisa.

Of course, I cherish my amazing memories in cities. But I also remember the pollution, pan-handlers, bloated prices, and noise. True fact: Deep bliss is more accessible in faraway spaces. And least that’s my experience and vision—and it gets stronger as I get older (and perhaps as I get weaker when it comes to navigating travel as a full-contact sport).

  • “My idea of exercise is a good brisk sit.”

So said Phyllis Diller. And if you can sit with a view of the sea, a glass of wine, the smell of pizza in the wood oven, and the accordionist serenading from the distance, that’s wanderlust heaven.

As things open up, I hope fellow vagabonds ponder that. And get the chance to fall in love again. Not only with travel, but with life itself.

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FOTOFRIDAY: CDC Opens Up Re: Testing Requirement 

Posted on: Friday, June 10th, 2022
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, Work/Life Hacking, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment
Quarantined in leave Italy and think you’ll have a view like this? Think again!
  • Finally! You can ditch the jitters about getting stuck in lockdown somewhere

Quickly and quietly, the Biden Administration and the CDC have announced that you won’t have to provide proof of a negative C19 test to get back into the USA. Whew! Having travelled internationally a few times during Covid, I can attest to the angst of wondering…am I going to get stranded in a hotel room for a week or two, maybe more?

The new rules take effect on midnight, Sunday. No more will moms need to drive from Minneapolis to the Mayan Riviera to rescue a kid who got stuck sick on spring break…and then sneak him into the US at the US/MX border! (Yes, I know someone who did that.) 

People are already traveling like lemmings to Amsterdam, Paris, Rome—the usual prospects. The airlines are printing money again, while using high gas prices and inflation babble as a reason to raise fares and make (even) more money. But now? Expect the numbers—all of them—to, uh, skyrocket.

Budgets aside, this is great news for travelers.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Savor Your Sacred Spaces

Posted on: Friday, May 20th, 2022
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, SoulTrain, Travelog, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment

Sunsets always impress at Sutherland Park in Sioux City—that’s in Iowa. 

How many times have I gathered with friends to throw frisbee, swill beer, play guitars, sing songs, take pics, kick off reunion opening ceremonies, hug through closing ceremonies, and (of course) watch the sun set? How many times have I done variations on those themes with my own kids or…alone?

Who knows? But the number would be staggering. And each visit feels sacred; I still travel to Sioux City often to visit my parents and others, and no visit there is complete without a BreakAway to that park. I make time, no matter the flurry of reality, and feel a profound gratitude for simple priorities and spaces.

The park has a history, naturally. In a way hilly town, this park sits atop one of the highest elevations and once had a functioning water reservoir underneath it, before water towers. Then the name changed—along with a few trivial details. But otherwise, it’s just a huge, grassy, glorious, flat space with a view of forever. And that includes Nebraska, South Dakota, endlessly rolling hills, and more.

Worries blow away there, while memories suddenly swirl inside the head, heart, and soul.

Is this heaven? Yes, and it’s Iowa. It’s also just a park. A nearly-forgotten place. And it is sacred. Please stop by your sacred spaces soon.

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Co’s Bending Toward Sabbaticals as Post-Pandy Perk

Posted on: Thursday, April 7th, 2022
Posted in: HR FYI, Sabbatical Shuffle | Leave a comment

If buildings can bend, like these in NYC, then bosses can too when it’s time to encourage employee BreakAways. 

Honestly, the flurry of sabbatical and career-break ink of late has been dizzying. At some point in history, we may look back at this workplace moment as not only one of the most challenging, but also innovative when it comes to employee empowerment.

Credit the pandemic—which for 2+ years has plundered work norms while somehow most of the economy kept afloat anyway. But that only began the reinvention; the Great Resignation somehow inspired millions of workers to quit their jobs and rethink work/life priorities entirely. And atop all that, younger people are less loyal. Older people are burning out. Offices suddenly seem more, oh, optional!

  • Flex, yes, but I want my FREEDOM too!

CBS Chicago reported a few days ago about trends in workplaces—newsworthy indeed as companies scramble to put Humpty-Dumpty back together. Flex work makes most headlines, but what does that mean? 1 day at the office? 4? That drama plays out daily now in offices everywhere

Pet stipends are also making some people purr—when your employer picks up the tab (and someone else picks up the doo-doo) to take your dog to the park while you’re at the cube farm. Transportation reimbursement (usually for mass transit) is gaining steam, as is education assistance. And a 4-day work week—already common in some countries for pre-pandemic reasons—is getting serious consideration in the US and again worldwide.

  • But the big score: The Sabbatical

CBS Chicago may not be the WSJ or The Economist in reach and influence. But when media everywhere are reporting on our BreakAway concept routinely, well, that’s Big News in itself. As a Northwestern professor put it, people want, “natural breaks, creative breaks.”

Funnily enough, that’s what this website has been preaching since 2008. Especially the “natural piece” (go somewhere! get outside! seek adventure!)…and the “creative” detail (recharge your ideas; use your hands; try something new).

If you’re going back to work-work, make it WORK for you. Now’s a good time to introduce the Powers that Be to the powers of offering employees worthwhile and feel-good perks. Atop the wish list are more vacation days, more unplugged times, and more SABBATICALS!

The Bosses at the top will love the improved morale, recruiting, and retention. And they’ll thank you. Later. Trust me!

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FOTOFRIDAY: 40 Million Americans Can’t Be Wrong!

Posted on: Friday, April 1st, 2022
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, Travelog, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment


California, like most warm states, is crowded. But the reasons why quickly meet the eye.

Travel IS coming back! And yet…Covid and other Realities kept this Vita-D-starved sun-seeker from sneaking away for the winter BreakAways of my fantasies this year. But I did manage a week or so in California and flew away understanding why people keep flocking there.

Sun, sand, surf, and of course wineries, waves, and all sorts of wonderfulness. (Never mind the prices, the lines, or the challenges of traffic and finding parking.) In a country full of beauty and marvels everywhere, no place else offers the warmth and allure of Mediterranean-esque California. So it was good to see the place busy and buzzy and returning to post-pandemic normal.

I started going there—for long summer visits to an aunt who had escaped the Midwest—at the age of 6. Funny, when the sea mist grazes me and the sun embraces my face, I almost feel like a giddy kid again.

More about Super Cali soon!

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ReWorking: LinkedIn Okays Career Breaks!

Posted on: Sunday, March 20th, 2022
Posted in: HR FYI, Sabbatical Shuffle, SoulTrain, Work/Life Hacking | One comment

Employers allegedly want neat, linear work histories. But most lives, especially those well-lived, more resemble a beautiful stack of abstract experiences.

Monster-networking SM site LinkedIn shocked the world on March 1 by suddenly—and finally—including career breaks as a viable way to describe the times that you were doing other things than working for MSFT (who owns LinkedIn). While most people would question the actual significance of LI, this is still both shocking and outstanding news.

LI even offers 13 options to describe your BreakAway, such as travel (yes!), bereavement, and caregiving. We’ll see if they add more over time, like joining the Great Resignation. Meanwhile, LI reports that “51% of hirers say they are more likely to contact a candidate that provides context about their career break.”

This development feels about, oh, 55 years late. But we rejoice in small victories—and this may represent a paradigm shift of sorts. So go ahead, be honest and update your profiles, y’all. BreakAway has always insisted that any employer worth working for will embrace people with interesting and well-rounded lives. Maybe the Linky world is catching up…

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