Sabbatical Shuffle

Pandemic Provoking Burnout Epidemic

Posted on: Sunday, October 31st, 2021
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, SoulTrain, Work/Life Hacking | Leave a comment

Do you know folks who used to be fun, but now they’re fried? Do you prefer Friday happy hour on the couch instead of at the pub? Are you worried that your get-up-and-go could use a booster shot? 

If so, you’re not alone. In fact, maybe it’s one of the few things we can all agree on: We’re tired, stressed, tense, afraid, and spooked. (Hey, I’m writing this on Halloween.) A recent WashPost feature by Angela Haupt (“Newest Pandemic Symptom: Burnout”) dug deep into this pit—calling on many experts—and left this amateur culture critic concerned.

  • Burnout digs deep

The article covers so many ways that burnout hurts people that, well, it’s painful to finish. One wonders how society heals from this crisis, and then ponders, “Gosh, that’s hitting kinda close to home.” Indeed, home is just one place that has lost its serenity status for many, since one’s abode now often serves as workplace, school, gym, infirmary, and more.

Burnout’s tendrils also burrow into mental and physical health. People cite depressing boredom from losing social and community connections. Many mention brain fog, health flare-ups, and creative apathy. In short, burnout has advanced from meaning overworked and underpaid to a condition with chronic and omnipresent reach.

I think it’s almost everyone, everywhere

— Amelia, Nagoski, author

  • Some reassuring solutions

Epic problems sometimes call for epic solutions. It’s too dang easy to say, “Well, just get up and do something…go somewhere…tap back into your energy reserves and revive coveted dreams!”

So Ms. Haupt’s article mentions simple steps that deserve attention now more than ever—and that we may ignore in our hour of darkness. To wit: Reach out to friends and family; we MUST feel love and take care of each other. Take breaks for personal pleasures like reading, resting, and time off. Make yourself exercise—not for your future modeling career, but for today’s sanity. Take transitions between demands. And seek creative outlets to help you forget about the world’s woes and produce something of meaning.

Burnout occurs when three factors are present at the same time: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a diminished sense of personal accomplishment.

  • The BreakAway promise

From the start, the MYBA website has cheerfully acknowledged that many leaps of a lifetime are motivated by crises, rather than manna (or money) from heaven. So maybe, just maybe, this challenging era will inspire some folks to take total assessment of their reality, envision profound alternatives (like an escapist months-long getaway), and fly away from this mess before it kills us all. While we still can.

We still can, can’t we?

Heavy stuff—like life itself. So, sure, start with the exercise and knitting. But don’t give up hope on your most monumental dreams. Because even the coveted fantasy can heal…and provide the first step to eventual arrival. Not to mention…temporary survival.

Keep the faith.

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FOTOFRIDAY: Big Beer BreakAway Boom Continues

Posted on: Friday, October 1st, 2021
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment


Nut Goodies have been a coveted, regional treat forever. But as a beer? Did not see that coming!

You’d have to be living under a vineyard to not be aware of the craft beer revolution that’s been happening for years now—with few signs of bloat yet. Even Covid can’t stop this party.

This pic comes from a local fundraiser event with lots of free beer, as donated by the many (MANY!) brewers roundabout. What a great idea, and oh boy, do people turn out to, uh, support the nonprofit!

Beer has gone beyond beverage and deep into BreakAway territory. People plan passionately around their drinking, er, tasting, er, exploration; they embark on nights out, day trips, weekend getaways, bus tours, bike jaunts, and ways to smuggle precious bevvies home from faraway locales.

Speaking for myself, I try to swill (way) less suds than I did in, say, college. And yet, I REFUSE to miss this buzzy escapist movement. So while not a fanatic, I AM a fan. So much so that I even sampled the Nut Goody Porter though, frankly, the idea sounded most unappetizing!

I was wrong. I liked it! Which…magically and effervescently brings us back to a taste of the BreakAway Creed: Get off your butt, go somewhere, and try something new. You’ll be glad you did!

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BITN: 3 Pandemic Consolation Prizes

Posted on: Thursday, April 1st, 2021
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, SoulTrain, BITN | Leave a comment

Could the dark clouds be clearing? For real?

We’ve endured more than a year of pandemic pain. But, as the interns in charge of this periodic post say, let’s also look for the bright spots. After all, this era may move on soon—or at least go to the bathroom. And then what? Some say a reboot of the Roaring 20s! Some say more plagues, possible inflation, a return to Times Square by millions of drunk tourists.

Only time will tell. Meanwhile, here are 3 newsy items that demonstrate the upside of this downer of a time…

Got Zoom fatigue? Does your vision still function? Have dark circles grown under your eyes? You’re not alone. And as a preacher of Unplugging, BreakAway abhors screen obsession and encroachment. So thanks, Citibank, for recognizing the damage done to employees by the blurring of work/life lines and over-Zooming. May other firms follow their smart lead. 

  • Bourdain is back

RIB (Rest in Bliss), Anthony Bourdain, who left us June 8, 2018. And here’s a toast to the crew who combed through his writings and collections to launch a posthumous book, “World of Travel: An Irreverent Guide.” Critics are crowing; fans and friends are elated at sage travel advice like, “Drink some wine, walk around a bit more, eat, and repeat. See, it’s easy.”

Sooner than later, we’ll be ambling in Paris or wine-touring in, well, anywhere. Here’s a great book for whetting that appetite in preparation.

Ever hit the road in a motorhome? My experience is limited, but the memories are epic. And its place on my bucket list remains high as the ‘take your time’ mantra grows in appeal. Winnebago took advantage of C-19, with soaring profits and booming sales as people discovered this relatively safe, easy, and potentially affordable way to wander the world.

Executives believe the boom started before the pandemic. After all, not everyone loves airplane-based travel. And lifestyles often shift, not to mention the baby boomers moving into retirement but not necessarily the nursing home. What’s not to like? Your home, stuff, and edibles travel with you; the outdoors is always just a window away.

  • Spring has sprung

Spring is always lovely. But this year comes with the added bloom of a post-pandemic reality. The 3 blurbs above remind us that even dark days have their upside, and that we must endeavor to…

Keep the faith.

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Please… Don’t Despair; Dream Instead

Posted on: Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, SoulTrain | Leave a comment

Ice fishing. A Northerner’s pastime featuring cold, perseverance, and solitude.

Today’s topic is unusually serious: Dreams, fantasies, faith, hope, imagination. The NYT recently published a timely feature about the human need for these flights of mind—and their potential fadeaway during the pandemic and political gravitas. Their research includes academicians that put a pedantic, though compelling, spin on this ethereal reality.

Bottom line? You need to do it. And it don’t come easy during these twisted times.

  • Borrowing BreakAway thunder?

MYBA suffers little from delusions of grandeur. Yet we’ve been passionately preaching the “if you can dream it, you can do it” gospel for decades, and via this blog since 2008. The proprietor has taken at least 5 sabbaticals; the proof is within clicks herein. And yet the themes of travel, escapism, career breaks, and diversion have taken a beat-down lately.

Meanwhile, the host has taken to writing about tangential topics…and wondering if he (or any of us) will ever fly into a lifestyle of wild blue wonder again. And when it comes to digging into the now-familiar symptoms of loneliness, worry, anomie, and fear of the future… For now, I’ll just play the stoic face card. And get back to the Times.

  • The profound need for daydreaming

The NYT article talks to real-world people who long to dance, dress up, go gallivanting, throw parties. Others, perhaps due to financial and employment stresses, have simplified to aspirations like taking their kids to a playground or just hugging their mom. In other words, not all fantasies are grandiose: “They are fantasizing about what they’re missing right now,” explains Deirdre Barret, a Harvard psychologist.

Professor Martin Seligman of U Penn has long studied and promoted that daydreaming lets people step away “from focusing on what’s wrong to what makes life worth living.” Indeed, without such mental meanderings, we may let go of hope, resilience, relationships, meaning, and more. In other words, folks, hold on. To your yearnings, your postponed pleasure, to your…dreams.

  • Thanks, we needed that

Breakaway has advocated for free time, outdoor adoration, unplugging, and running away through all kinds of conditions: Dot-com booms (when many people got rich fast); dot-com busts; recessions; 9-11; terrorism; wars of all kinds; a killer pandemic; and markets (and the moods that follow them) up and down. The goals seem, to me, timeless, common-sensical, and essential.

With any luck, you’ve got 75+ years or so to work and/or play on this planet. If there is any conceivable way, why not take a small percentage of that time to chase your dreams? (What’s not to like here?)

But, but, but, I must admit that the challenges of late—for the planet, for people to stay physically healthy, and to avoid pervasive despair—seem more powerful than ever. What to do? Who knows? So we look for guidance from experts in the NYT, or friends on the phone, or loud music or quiet meditation. We fall back on rallying cries like, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” And, advise the experts, we dream on…

So please practice your daydreaming. And keep the faith.

“The important thing about imagination is that it gives you optimism.”

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BITN: Celebrity Sabbatical Shuffle

Posted on: Monday, February 8th, 2021
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, BITN | Leave a comment

Most likely, today’s noted vagabonds will reside in fancier digs… 

  • Trump Escapes to Mara Lago

The interns have been busy again, and joyfully bring us a fresh installment of BreakAways in the News that focuses on some famous folks are seeking a hiatus, starting with…

That man who was once the most powerful, most omnipresent, and most outspoken person in the world is taking a break. Lucky for him, he owns his own luxury resort in sunny Florida, among other places. We hope he is recovering from his exhausting stint in DC, a place he never much liked anyhow, and finding time for family, friends, and deep reflection.

On the other hand, some—including the NY Daily News—have proposed that the Ex-Prez should have been shipped away, like the ancient Greeks did to disruptive citizens. Yep, a 10-year timeout-sabbatical would happen, via their voting process. There was no incarceration, no torture, no drama. And you could quietly return to Athens after 10.

Who needs impeachment? I think the Greeks were on to something. And we might all enjoy making a large list of candidates worthy of a ten-year disappearance.

  • The Archbishop of Canterbury Sneaks Away

Across the pond a few months ago, The Brits were abuzz about the controversial timing of Archbishop Justin Welby taking a 3-month sabbatical amid a crippling pandemic, crumbling economy, and political mess. Opinion writer Karen Armstrong backed up her disdain by chronicling how Jesus and Buddha worked their butts off, and that such lame leadership may help explain why regular church attendance in the UK has dropped to 8%.

Of note: Many people defended the Archbishop’s right to time off, and the debate yawned on. BreakAway has no official stance on this issue, other than to ponder that, if a Somebody of such importance and power can simply shrug and slink off to a secluded vacation, shouldn’t we Nobodies?

  • Pamela Anderson Signs off from SM

Brace yourself: Baywatch actress and Playboy model Pam A has taken a serious sabbatical from SM, stating, “I am genuinely inspired by reading and being in nature. I am free.” She signs off with thanks and blessings and, “Let’s hope you find the hope and inspiration to find your purpose and try not to be seduced by wasted time.”

BreakAway applauds ALL of that—loud and long clear—with real noise, not just emojis of claps and fireworks and balloons.

But wait, there’s more… Turns out that, some months ago, Ms. Anderson became the new creative director of a platform called ‘jasmin,’ which connects users with influencers and celebrities who can help you with, uh, well, issues and aspirations and stuff. Oh well…

  • We Await Our Turn…

In conclusion, BreakAway wishes a robust bon voyage to these 3 famous wanderers—and hopes that those of us lacking such fame and fabulousness will somehow soon follow in their sidesteps.

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Scandinavians Share Secrets to Surviving Darkness

Posted on: Monday, January 18th, 2021
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, SoulTrain, Unplugging, Work/Life Hacking | Leave a comment

  • Danish art about getting hyggelig from a boutique in a small coastal town 

As a 100% Scandinavian mutt, I’ve enjoyed unforgettable travels in their lands, and maintain a stubborn habit of studying their ways of life.  Healthcare consortium Kaiser Permanente recently posted an article promoting the simple but effective ways that those Nordic folks deal with darkness, both literal and metaphorical.

This ain’t brain science. Yet these rituals may work brain-mind-body miracles. We’ll embrace the language barrier + share some ideas, in case these days have you feeling dark, hopeless, scared, anxious, intimidated, worried, numb, confused, lost, pissed, catatonic, bored, or otherwise not quite euphoric.

  • FRILUTSLIV (OPEN-AIR LIVING)

BreakAway has preached this until if we scream in the forest, no one will hear us. Point is, every moment outside improves your well-being. A long sojourn in the mountains might be idyllic, but even a walk in the park will work wonders. In my Scandi and Scandi-American Midwest memories, every farm and yard had chairs and benches all over the yards—among other toys and cues to lure you out-of-walls. And oh, those sweet porches…

  • GOKOTTA (WAKE EARLY; WORSHIP BIRDS)

Yep, it’s about that simple. Get up, sleepy head, and hear the birds when they are most robust. You start the day chirpy, happy, and ready to flutter into the to-do list. Hey, if the birds can do it, you can too!

  • FIKA PAUS (THE COFFEE BREAK)

In Sweden, work is scheduled around the break, not VV. And this is not just a slouch and stare at the phone moment. Rather, there’s conversation, calming, resting, and reset. I remember this ritual at both sets of my grandparents’ farms and beyond. So simple, yet almost transformative. The laughter, the sharing of thoughts and info, the camaraderie. And then…back to work. The fresh cookies and cakes were pretty good too!

  • HYGGE (COZINESS) 

This word has been trending so long I almost feel sheepish and ba-a-a-d to use it. But hey, I grew up with hyggelig, so who needs trends? Hygge, of course, means embracing the darkness by lighting a candle, a fire, a twinkling tree. Piling on another posh pillow. Hugging blankets and sipping something warm. And don’t forget soothing MUSIC! Just get comfie. Summer will be back soon enough.

  • LAGOM (BALANCE)

As BreakAway has always promoted, Everything in moderation . (Including moderation.) LAGOM, which might translate to “just the right amount,” suggests we avoid, say, over-eating and N’flix binging. And that we un-rest the butt and move more. Get the chores done. But then take enjoy coffee break!

Perhaps a shot of akavit at the end of the day? Just sayin’. Ha det godt! (Norsk.)

Og behold troen. (More Norsk.)

Translation: And keep the faith.

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Citigroup Proclaims Sabbaticals Pay!

Posted on: Monday, January 4th, 2021
Posted in: HR FYI, Sabbatical Shuffle | Leave a comment

  • Citibank avoids too much moss in the office by granting employee sabbaticals.

A recent Bloomberg Opinion piece has attracted ample attention by outlining Citigroup’s generous policy of offering 12-week sabbaticals to employees after 5 years of employment. Writer Sarah Green Carmichael uses the program as a springboard for both promoting time off and debunking fears about its harm to careers.

  • The problem with unused vacation

As we’ve discussed often at BreakAway, America enjoys being one of the richest countries, but is one of the poorest when it’s time to enjoy a good vacation. We get less. And we don’t even use what we’re given. The average worker earns 23 days off per year but actually takes only 17 of them. That amounts to billions of unused R&R-days!

Carmichael refers to abundant research that shows things like that people who use more vacation are actually more likely to get raises and promotions. Like: co-workers typically appreciate an absent co-worker’s contribution more when they are away and thus unable to pull their weight. Like: managers usually can’t tell the difference between those who slave away 80 hours/week to those who are faking it.

  • Problems persist with parenthood breaks

Maternity leave, in our great country, produces fuzzier outcomes. Several studies show that recent mothers make less money, are less likely to get promoted, and (if job searching) are less likely to get hired—due to lingering stigma that mothers will be less committed and capable. Paternal leave remains even more frowned upon. 

  • Money is “renewable,” while time is “finite”

No thanks to C-19, sabbaticals may suffer as workers covet their jobs and employers fiercely protect all bottom lines. Still, in the big picture, COVID also reminds us that we never know what may kill us, or when. Meanwhile, a career BreakAway not only won’t kill you, it will make you a more worldly, gratified person and employee. 

Op-eds and studies aside, Breakaway guarantees that a sabbatical will most certainly change your life!

Money is the ultimate renewable resource … But time is fleeting and finite. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

 

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11 Reasons Why COVID Is OK

Posted on: Thursday, November 19th, 2020
Posted in: HR FYI, Rants & Roadkill, Sabbatical Shuffle, SoulTrain, Unplugging | Leave a comment
  • C-19 is serious. But so is coping. Here’s a light-hearted look at ways to get through the day…

You know me: Always the optometrist. So I just can’t help but clearly see the silver lining of our murky pandemic Reality. Oh sure, the arguments are thinner than the cheapo TP we all hoarded from Sam’s Club.  But we also need alternatives to gloom-scrolling. And chintzy TP is better than none at all!

So, if you’ll pardon this overdose on Pollyanna pills, please consider… 

  • 11 Reasons Why COVID Is OK 

1. OVER-CROWDED EATERIES ARE OUTRE’. Remember wandering a cool neighborhood looking for food and fun? Recall being unable to get in the door—any door? And who can forget fighting for a drink at the popular pub or monster truck rally? Sometimes the crowds were part of the entertainment, but other times just heinous. And I’m also okay with…

2. $16 HOUSE WINES ARE CORKED UP. And BTW that’s a glass, not a bottle—and sometimes a paltry pour. I do love tasting red wine and seeing new places. But price creep (on all sorts of treats and experiences) taking a breather? That’s okay too.

3. THE ELECTION STAYED SO MELLOW. You think I’m joking? I’m not! Ya sure, this year’s politics were more repugnant than turds in a hot tub. But absent COVID? We’d have likely seen crowds and destruction that would have put this strife to the pale.

4. STAY-CATION IS SURGING. (Quirky coincidence with pandemic #s?) But seriously, even we travel buffs know that there’s no place like homestead. If folks are giving their abode some TLC and finding R&R in their oft-empty McMansions, that’s a soulful win-win.

5. HOME SCHOOLING IS IN SESSION. This one’s a stretch; many families are challenged and many students (40% in St. Paul) are struggling. On the upside, though, families are more involved than before with their kids’ education. A new appreciation for teachers has blossomed. And we are forced to re-think education and the outsized role of screens in learning.

6. “I’M SO BUSY’ HAS TAKEN A BREAK. You know these people: They’re so busy telling you how busy they are that, well, you hardly manage conversation at all. And it’s true: We have become a bafflingly busy culture. Too busy? Maybe. It might do some rat-racers good to take a cool-down lap.

7. WE ARE RE-WORKING THE WORKPLACE. While always in flux, there still must be billions of people who are working 9-to-5-plus and jamming up the freeways for hours on end. If more freedom and flexibility is a side-effect of the pandemic, many employees will be grateful.

8. STOCKS AND REAL ESTATE ARE BOOMING. So far, anyway, mostly. Of course, that only benefits those who have such holdings—and (as the Armchair Economist noted in these pages) the haves truly are getting richer. But for now, it’s okay—versus the alternatives.

9. WE’RE LEARNING SOME NEW VOCABULARY. Did you know that America’s vocab is shrinking faster than your Thanksgiving guest list? It’s true. So let’s be thankful that C-19 has upped our usage of fine words like asymptomatic, antibodies, and pod—while politics made slang out of vitriol, discord, and narcissistic. Quiz Tuesday!

10. POST-PANDEMIC, WE WILL APPRECIATE BREAKAWAYS EVEN MORE! Here in MN, we live by warped mantras like…The sooner winter happens, the sooner summer comes back! But it’s true! And someday, someday, we WILL get to travel again—whether to a family gathering, the cabin, or a coveted dream vacation.

11. MUSIC. When your mind is racing or you’re otherwise about to go completely bat-shit, play music. With your own instruments, or whatever you call your stereo. Turn it up. Let it bathe your blues and blast your brain.

After (God knows how) many months of quarantine, we’ll enjoy travel—and restaurants and parties and schools and mask-free living—more than ever. So in the meantime, let us try to find gratitude for the things that still bring comfort, and the fact that, yep, it could be worse.

Keep the faith.

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BITN: Gap Years, Resume Gaps, & Killer Perks

Posted on: Monday, November 2nd, 2020
Posted in: HR FYI, Sabbatical Shuffle, BITN, Wily Mktg | Leave a comment

  • Pandemic lemonade: Take time off

An FA group out of SF is encouraging their Gen-X clients to consider a shift into Gap-Year mode during these helter-skelter times. Yep, the Advisory Group of San Francisco proclaims to their 40-something investors that, “midlife is now even more intense.” And that research shows that age 47 trends to be the low point in the lifetime happiness curve. So…why not? A 16-p guide is available for the asking.

Midlife is now even more intense

AGSF also mentions “gas pedal risk,” that go-go faster-faster feeling that can happen when life brings maxed-out demands like kid-rearing, peak career loads, and … so much more. Nice idea, a mid-life gap year. BreakAway applauds and of course advocates exactly that (your children will thank you!) along with gap years (or months) most anytime throughout this “one wild and precious life.”

  • Um, about those lost years…

Okay, back to work! Last summer, MoneyTalksNews ran an article about a common theme that continues to grow in attention: How to explain gaps in resumes. The challenge thickens given that many firms essentially have robots that screen resumes via “tracking sytems.” Said bots may flag and dislike breaks! (After all, robots never rest.)

So what to do? The author suggests being upfront and giving a reason for the gap in both cover letter and resume, as research suggests that approach alone can up the odds of your info making it past the bot-bouncer by 60%. Mention any training and networking you’ve done. And of course, keep the focus on your key skills and talents.

At BreakAway, we fearlessly ask: Hey, doesn’t everybody need (and deserve) a pause now and then? Or are we really supposed to work from age 22 to 67 with nary a pit stop during the rat race? Besides, people who take time to raise children, help family, and travel curiously are just plain more well-rounded and worldly.

  • Best workplaces serve up juicy bennies

Comparably is a savvy site “Comparing Employers, Brands, and Salaries.” A recent and impressive post lauds 11 companies that offer innovative perks to keep employees content, motivated, and loyal! 2020 and its shifting work realities make such bonuses particularly useful and no doubt appreciated.

Examples include a home-office stipend, mental-health help with easy access, debt-free degrees, and (my favorite) virtual happy hours with at-home drink delivery during the pandemic.

All great, but what about FREE time? Here you go—just some of the ways that innovative employers are keeping their staffers savvy and sane…

·      Unlimited paid time off

·      Extended holiday weekends

·      Company-wide recharge days

·      1 mental-health day per month

·      Summer Fridays off

·      One-month sabbaticals after three years service

One month off after three years? If that doesn’t make recruiting and retention easier, we’re out of ideas! As countless prospective employees are likely saying…Sign me up!

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Kimmel & O’Connor Commend BreakAways; Wilderness Swamped

Posted on: Thursday, July 9th, 2020
Posted in: HR FYI, Sabbatical Shuffle, BITN | Leave a comment

Have you been tuning in to the late night comedy-talk shows? I hope so. Because even though Kimmel, Colbert & comrades have been recording in their home offices (and rec rooms and garages) they’ve been creating some of their best work. Absent the cheesy crowd noise and adulation, the hosts work harder and end up showing more star power.

More comedic relief, too. The summer we all want to forget (and survive) gets punched in the gut-laughs nightly, with crisp and daring monologues and occasional skits—often including family. Speaking of, Jimmy’s daughters are darling; they join him for a feature on Fridays. Their girly giggle-attacks are more contagious than the Coronavirus!

But Jimmy needs a break. According to the BoGlobe, he’s taking his longest break (a few months) after 18 years and 3,130 episodes. We’ll miss him. And hope that when he returns, he has a crowd to cheer him on. But now we know: If not, well, he’ll still provide essential laughter therapy.

  • Justice O’Connor’s 5-year break transformed her future

Sandra Day O’Connor’s career is legendary, with top-tier positions in all 3 branches of government and, ultimately, a long stint on the U.S. Supreme Court. Yet she speaks of the 5-year break to raise her 3 sons as perhaps the most game-changing chapter of all.

A babysitter quit; could happen to anyone. But this was the early 1960s, and daycare options were virtually non-existent. So O’Connor became a homemaking mom, and eventually had to volunteer, scheme, and fight her way back to employment. Boy, did she!

Her story gets sterling telling thanks to Carol Fishman Cohen, founder of iRelaunch, an admirable advocacy of career breaks and workplace re-entry. Her TED talk offers a touchstone for our vital cause, with millions of views to prove it!

Justice O’Connor’s trail-blazing example proved what was possible: that a career break is not a permanent roadblock, but rather a life-changing, character-shaping step along the way.

Our thanks to both of these innovators for their great work and, especially, for their BreakAway leadership!

  • MN wilderness is swamped

The COVID-19 pandemic has destroyed most travel dreams, and likely countless simple summer vacation plans. Here in MN, however, the camping and outdoor getaway business is booming. State parks report a 62% increase in day traffic over a year ago. And popular places like Lake Superior’s North Shore have become so busy that ill-mannered neophytes are a problem

Knowing that people are finding a way to escape their 4 walls and 55 worries to absorb the great outdoors offers a ray of sunshine in gloomy times. But really, people? Cutting down pines to increase your view? Throwing trash in Boundary Waters latrines? Emptying an RV septic tank by the side of the road? Hmmm. Maybe these morons should stay in lock-down!

As one outfitter theorizes, “The world is in a disruptive mode, maybe people are caring less…the world is coming to an end so we’ll do whatever the hell we want to do.”

Sad. Because these attditudes can become self-fulfilling destinies. And don’t we have enough to lament and fret about without engaging in reckless, recreational destruction?

Yes, we do. So go. BreakAway. Get your yayas out. But please, people: Clean up after yourself. And be kind.

Keep the faith.

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