Work/Life Hacking

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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FAST CO.: Interviewers Should Lighten up on Career Breaks

Posted on: Wednesday, April 20th, 2022
Posted in: HR FYI, Work/Life Hacking | Leave a comment


Work is important, and sometimes sweet. But bosses-to-be need to recognize that savvy employees need Big Breaks too—whether to handle life’s adversity or to savor some serendipity.

Earlier this week, FC published (what some might call) a paradigm-shifting article, “What’s Behind the Employment Gap?” They outline 14 approaches from 14 HR mavens about how to approach discussing career breaks in an interviewee’s resume—and the interviews that follow.

While short on overall analysis, the loud-and-clear upshot is that times have changed. Major league. The pandemic shook up the work world in unpredictable and unprecedented ways. But the Great Resignation that is sweeping the career world seems to have shifted much of the balance of power away from the Big Shots and into the ready arms of the Real People.

Here are some highlights shared by these HR authorities…

• “PTO may be a sign of maturity.” (2 words: Thank you!) {8 more words: Maybe working nonstop for 45 years is not!}

• A perspective boss may be curious and appreciate a way to address the gap, but, as one pundit puts it, “It truly isn’t any of my business.”

• Maybe time off now is the norm, not the exception. Brilliant: Have you heard about raising children? Is there any engaged parent who hasn’t needed time to make that arduous adjustment? Did you know that in Europe both new parents may get up to 6 months off? Are you aware that our sluggish congress someday may legally mandate Family Leave?

• Give them the benefit of the doubt. And while you’re at it, “Find out what they gained from the experience.”

• Don’t label it a shortfall. In fact, why not, “Frame it as an opportunity for learning and growth.”

• And finally…Consider the candidate’s maturity level. “No personal path or career path is straight.” LIFE happens. And that includes illness, family concerns, having kids, and making hard decisions. As one writer asserts, it would be easy to see taking career breaks as, frankly, ant-woman…since moms (and dads, right?) often must make tough choices about family versus career.

Conspicuously missing: Discussion of travel as the reason for a…BreakAway! Hmmmmm. We’ve much to say about that. But for now, let’s just embrace the miraculous victory that this quick-read article represents.

High 5s to Fast Company. 14 of their Executive Board Members, in fact. Who knew gnarly experiences like Covid-19, sheltering in place, and locking down offices would play out so poetically? (Well, some of us have been patiently waiting for WHATEVER might move the chains.)

As this site often states: You CAN have it all…just not all at once.

Keep the faith. 

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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 | Leave a 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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ReWorking: WSJ Touts Sabbaticals as Pandy Burnout Cure

Posted on: Thursday, February 10th, 2022
Posted in: HR FYI, Sabbatical Shuffle, Work/Life Hacking | Leave a comment

For many, of late, life’s a b*tch—not a beach. The lucky ones get a sponsored BreakAway.

Last month, the Wall Street Journal published, “Sabbaticals are a Power Move in the Burnout Era,” and offered stats and stories about our repurposed passion. While millions of employees are joining The Great Resignation, for all kinds of reasons, author Katherine Bindley paints a prettier picture of people exploring national parks, reviving a home office, and renting a tranquil lake retreat.

  • Working harder than ever 

Contrary to many a bossman’s opinion, research proves that employees are putting in more hours than ever—even before Covid ravaged the workplace. Pile on unexpected stressors like concocting a home office, mastering the ways of remote collaboration, and tending to (sometimes sick) family and in-your-face chores and you get…BURNOUT!

Is it any wonder that morale is in the pits? That people are unhappy about the economy, politics, and, well, just about everything? We all feel like we need a vacation—if only the corporation acquiesced and the airlines functioned and the resorts were staffed and ready!

  • Still only offered to the privileged few

The sabbatical surge is great news, right? Yes, but unfortunately, companies that offer such remains stuck at an unimpressive 5%. And most of those employers have a long process—and line—while the package and duration can mean anything from unpaid for 3 weeks to fully paid for several months.

Still, when WSJ talks, people listen. And we can be sure that millions of readers practically spilled their coffee when perusing this article, thinking, “That sounds pretty damn good right about now!”

BreakAway thanks the ever-savvy Wall Street Journal and the helpful people at The Sabbatical Project for promoting our favorite movement.

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Supply Chain Mess Hits Home

Posted on: Friday, December 3rd, 2021
Posted in: Rants & Roadkill, Work/Life Hacking, FOTOFRIDAY | Leave a comment
The post-it says: The bigger the headache, the bigger the pill

Don’t ever travel. Or leave home. You learn about things, yes! But never forget: You must go home again. And…you will encounter things you didn’t want to know about, like the supply chain.

Who knew that was a thing? Well, now we all do. At least when the fridge decides to die. Or you need a car part that is nowhere to be found. Or the SuperTarget isn’t so super and hasn’t stocked your prescribed vitamin or favorite hot sauce in months.

I can’t figure out if we’ve become spoilt brats. Or if this stubborn frustration is yet another sign that the world is coming to an end. Both/And, maybe? May we remember that for many residents of this planet, these are First World Problems. Sobering…But does that solve the problems?

Not in this case. At least that’s how I felt when coming back from a recent short BreakAway visiting the parents. So lovely, until I walked in my house…The rotten food. The cleanup. The umpteen hours I spent trying to find a fridge that would fit, the countless reps along the way who could only laugh at my naiveté, and the 6 weeks and countless screw-ups the whole debacle endured.

Folks, there’s a fridge freeze-up. Warn your belly.

I ended up—eventually—procuring an overpriced, lower-end appliance that didn’t exactly fit. And ripping up part of my house to get it in. I’d be surprised if it’s still functional in 5 years.

And I couldn’t be happier.

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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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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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Forbes & Motley Fool Endorse BreakAways

Posted on: Saturday, February 8th, 2020
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, Work/Life Hacking, Wily Mktg | Leave a comment

To everything there is a season: A time to work, a time to play. 

The BreakAway Crew has been selling sabbatical lifestyles since 2008. Yet we’re always delighted when bigger influencers like Forbes and the Fool affirm our Big Idea. Both approach the topic from a career-centric POV. And that’s swell, since most folks have a career-credit-card focus and that encourages MYBA room to romp in the equally vital faith-&-freedom space.

  • Iconic takeaways from media masters

You can peruse these articles quickly, but here are the primary reminders in case you need to get back to tic tok. 

Career breaks…

  • WON’T RUIN YOUR CAREER….

Since they give you a chance to try new challenges, embark on an entrepreneurial endeavor, diversity your skill set, volunteer for something impressive, up your passion profile, boost your confidence, and more.

  • HELP YOU STAND OUT…

Because these days, so many jobs are LinkedIn-predictable and (for many) STEM-ish. Travelers have grander perspectives and wider exposure. Savvy employers want nothing less. As we say at BreakAway, it’s about self- Wily Mktg.

  • PLAY INTO THE ‘CAREER WAVE’ TREND RATHER THAN THE CONVENTIONAL ‘LADDER’…

This will make more sense as the Millennials take over. And they will comprise 35% of the work force this year. And get this: 84% of them foresee career breaks in their future.

  • FIGHT BURNOUT….

Since, frankly, that’s a career (and well-being) killer. Forbes says that 23% of full-time employees report burnout often; another 44% say it hits them sometimes. Our side-EFX-free RX: BreakAway ASAP.

  • “CLARIFY WHAT TYPE OF LIFE YOU WANT”…

My favorite. Paths, passion, restlessness, test drives, that whole deal. And our Motley not-so-foolish writer remind us that, depending on your age, many retirement funds are eligible to pay for your adventure. (Why wait until you’re old and rickety!?!)

  • Free your mind and your ass will follow

So says one of my heroes, George Clinton (and Funkadelic). Our fine writers agree but might paraphrase thusly: 1) Free your mind and your career will follow. 2) Free your mind and your career break will follow. 

So do like Forbes and the Fool and start planning BreakAways into your life already! Or just agree that careers are long yet life is longer so…When the time is right, why not go? 

PS Thanks, Forbes and Fool!

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Stop SM and Smell the Roses

Posted on: Sunday, October 13th, 2019
Posted in: Unplugging, Work/Life Hacking, Wily Mktg | Leave a comment
Kirk Horsted

A shocking amount of both sabbatical and SM news arrives from India, Europe, and places that have forever taken free time seriously. FBOW, we often overlook it like arrogant Americans. But sometimes, one realizes that, rather like the lessons of travel itself, there’s much to learn beyond the pond.

Recently, Mumbai’s mid-day.com published a warm and provocative article about a successful pop musician, Vasundhara, who one day realized that SM had taken over her life, damaged her career and real-world interactions, and brought on a case of anxiety that was causing bodily harm. “Likes” had replaced hugs—and the results were toxic.

Her solution? A 6-month SM Detox. The cravings hurt at first. But she pushed herself toward impressive projects including a teaching position in the arts, singing lessons that improved her ability to sing with the whole body and increased her range, a new single, and a how-to book for musicians trying to break into the industry.

In other words, all those hours of SM posting may have seemed like savvy, modern-day marketing. But when compared to face-to-face connecting? Waste of time!

She’s returned to SM, but selectively. Her new discipline allows 40 minutes every other day. And she aims to never turn back. As she says, she’s realized the “superficial information” from SM floods you with false impressions of people, and that, “We have forgotten that we are wired to wired to look at a person, get non-verbal cues, and hear their voices.”

A psychologist who helped with this story + the BreakAway Board of AdvisorZ recommends you can read all about it and study their excellent SM Detox tips here.

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Sabbaticals Becoming Influential Marketing Fad

Posted on: Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, Work/Life Hacking, Wily Mktg | One comment
Kirk Horsted

Hey, would YOU like $30K to take four weeks off? Or how about being sponsored to spend 3 months in Italy revitalizing a fading village? Or, if all that sounds too cushy, why not embark on a 30-day eco-journey that reaches its peak with 10 days in Antarctica assisting with pollution research?

Sounds tempting, right? Of course! But there’s a catch. For starters, your chance in all cases are about, well, 1 in a million. Then there’s another catch: You’ll have to become a social-media barker for your sponsor. And there are more catches, including that a part of you (and your “content”) will forever be owned.

These are brilliant—and ultimately cheap—marketing schemes by savvy companies who prefer screen-based advertising to traditional tactics. Stok Cold Brew Coffee is behind the $30K sabbaticals. Airb&b came up with the Italian village concept. And if Antarctica is your fantasy, you can thank airb&b for that one too, along with their eco-partner Ocean Conservancy.

The upside here is that these promotions are calling attention to—and perhaps somehow doing something about—sad realities like dying small-town Italy and even-more-dying Planet Earth. (The Stok deal seems to not worry about social redemption—just social media).

On the sidelines, some pundits are thumbing their noses at these efforts. They note that candidates’ selection criteria will be heavily weighted on their influencer power, how airb&b’s success has worsened the affordable housing problem (which itself brings about pollution), and how dubious airb&b’s own record is when it comes to any environmental leadership or guidelines (not to mention that the travel industry is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions).

Welcome the relatively new phrase: Crisis Capitalism. Nowadays, certainly someone will have get-rich schemes from viewing dying species, seeing the ice caps before they melt away, and swimming with the dolphins while we still can. You can track back to Mr. Marx himself if seeking the roots of such opportunistic thinking.

Yet let’s hope the motives of and outcomes from this burst of sabbatical/save-the-world bingo makes some positive things happen. Heck, if the increased awareness about sabbaticals helps people move beyond today’s perceived priorities and toward a path beyond the BreakAway obstacles, then sign me up—however slim the odds I might actually find myself enjoying free lunch while spiffing up ancient Italy.

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