Im sure I will get flamed for this but all this sabbatical talk is just an example of ultimate first world problems. All this talk as if its some great burden to work for more than 6 weeks at a time. This is so far out of touch from normal working Americans in my opinion. Do you know how many people work the entire year only to have Christmas time off? Do you know how many people would like to just have a steady job? Let alone a job with vacation time. Sure this is perhaps focused on people who are out on their own like myself but there is no way I’m too bothered to put in the time to build and run my own business. I subscribe much more into the Gary Vee mentality of putting in the work and hustling (clouds and dirt). Or maybe Dave Ramsey where you have to live like no one else, so later in life you can live like no one else. (aka: sacrafice and hustle now, play later).
Perhaps thats not how this sabbatical and retreat talk was intended to come across, but thats how it comes across to me. It’s a fantasy world that is not realistic for most people, again in my opinion.
I have no dog in this “fight” but in general, you are absolutely correct, few people in this country or the world can take sabbaticals/retreats. The same thing can be said about the computer hardware, apps., and accessories that we are preoccupied with in this forum. This is a niche forum with many members blessed with the resources and flexibility to buy expensive hardware and take sabbaticals and retreats. There is nothing wrong with this provided one is not consumed by it.
I have taken a few Think Weeks (borrowed from Bill Gates) but no more than perhaps one every three to five years. It is a 3-5 day “retreat” where I eat, run, read, write and reflect on strategic work related issues for the next 3-5 years. It is certainly not about navel gazing. My worldview and purpose in life are well grounded and cohesive requiring relatively little navel gazing.
That said, what is helpful is to ensure that one’s priorities and time are devoted to one’s callings in life (in my case husband, father, head of school, friend, church member, etc). Uninterrupted study and reflection can help us be better people and better in fulfilling our callings. But, that does not require a retreat. A quite day or two without distractions in the backyard works just fine. If one has small children or other things that make quiet time hard, then schedule multiple very early mornings before anyone is up (4:00am works well) for such reflection—or late nights if one is not a morning person. In short, you are right; most people cannot take multiple periods of time off for a retreat but if one has been blessed with the ability to do so finding time and place for deep thought, reflection, reading and planning can have great benefits for one’s self and those we serve. And, many people can take time for such reflection without taking time from work, family and without major expense.
I think what got to me is the constant talk about it that stretched on over seemingly several episodes. Like life would not go on without a sabbatical. It got to the beating a dead horse stage to me.
I found the topic interesting to begin with but grew really tired of it quickly. I get that this can be a benefit it’s just not realistic especially for entrepreneurs. I also don’t believe having hardware and software these days is a far out luxury. Sure when your considering the poverty class but above that I feel like most people have a computer. Often in their pocket.
I certainly agree but there are those on this forum with far more than that. Some have multiple iPads, the latest Apple Watch with bands for every occasion, multiple HomePods, Apple TV’s, Mac Pros, MBPs, servers, Smart Home devices, special bulbs, expensive apps and subscriptions … There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this but I think it confirms my point that this is a niche group with above average blessings.
As to sabbaticals, yes that topic can certainly be overdone and hyped but that could be said about many things in most any podcast. A focused podcast like MPU has a finite universe of topics so it is inevitable that some will be excessively covered for the interest and taste of some. But, there are others who find the topic helpful and refreshing. When I encounter episodes that seem to beat the proverbial horse to death, note taking apps? I skip it and move one. It may not be for me but for others it is of high interest and benefit. I’m with you regarding the retreats/sabbaticals—I don’t care to hear more about them but all I have to do is skip those episodes or skip forward recognizing that they are beneficial for others.
I understand (I think) where you’re coming from. But, maybe that the concept of a sabbatical is considered something that only the privileged can avail themselves of says more about a systemic problem with societies than it does about the people who are able to have them. This isn’t a criticism of your observation as much as it is of the fact that there’s more than enough economic activity to afford each of us the ability to “better” ourselves as a basic expectation of modern life.
My sense is that was largely because what I’ll call “the sabbatical story” was an ongoing story with reporting on the process and then on how it actually went. So we got an episode that was actually focused on sabbaticals, then subsequent updates on someone trying one for the first time.
A sabbatical can be a balance to workplace demands that most people would not tolerate. I might suggest that the appearance of fantasy is perhaps only an indication of an ignorance of the fuller scope of the reality.
I can sympathize with your thoughts on this. For most of my life I’ve believed in the hustle. I can tell you that over the last few years I’ve decided to take a different approach and it has improved the quality of my life and the quality of the things I make. It’s still a struggle for me though. I routinely find myself working 7 day weeks.
The reason I’m open to try these things is to figure out if there is a better way and share that journey with the audience. Not everything is going to work for everyone though (or even me) and I get that. I can tell you that of the two experiments (Sabbatical and Personal Retreat), I got more out of the personal retreat. I’m sure that’s partly because I didn’t really “sabbatical” as people who do it more often keep telling me.
Well, living in a supposed third-world country, I don’t think this is a first world problem. Not to get too preachy, but I think the idea of taking a sabbatical has been passed on through religion (at least in Hinduism) and time, and it’s not a new concept.
Yes we are living in a time which is testing our limits as we are required to put in more work to get the same privilege that previous generation had, but that doesn’t negate sabbatical as a philosophy.
I am all for hustling but I also think that we need to give our body and mind a chance to recover. I think of it as sleep. Yes my body can survive on 5 hours of sleep a day for years (and I have done that), but in the long run, it will do more harm than good. And since I decided to take 7 hours of sleep everyday, I have felt better in every aspect of my life.
Work and cultures vary a lot around the world. Where I live the entire country takes a month off in August (Spain), except for hospitality workers, and we have 13 long weekends a year. This is plenty of opportunity to take a sabbatical at some point.
I work as a professor and typically only teach for 6 months a year, the rest of the year I need to do research and sabbaticals are an essential part of my job as I travel to find inspiration. I’ve been doing this since I started working at university 20 years ago. Usually I take 4 months at a time to see new technologies in Asia, and it has resulted in the best research I’ve done.
I am responding to the quotes above; my purpose is not to start a religious discussion, which is not appropriate for this forum, it is to fill out the context of this discussion.
That said, as described in the Old Testament of the Bible a sabbath (Hebrew: Shabbath) day of rest was instituted by God on the seventh day of the week. It was designed for man’s good. Man is to work six days and rest and worship his Creator on the seventh.
As I wrote above, a week sabbath (for me my Think Week) is valuable for deep strategic thinking but even a two day “retreat” to the backyard can be refreshing and valuable. I don’t believe anyone is arguing against a sabbatical/retreat per se. The OP’s point was that most people do not have the time, freedom or financial wherewithal to be taking off work for multiple day retreats or sabbaticals. Those who can are a limited group of individuals whose circumstances are such that they are able to do so. The same can be said about working from home during a pandemic. Some professions can accommodate a work from home option, others cannot. My plumber cannot work from home during a pandemic. I doubt that he can take multiple day retreats or sabbaticals without going broke. Having lived for eight years on a farm I can tell you that dairy farmers can’t take sabbaticals either.
Again, back to the OP’s complaint that too much is said about sabbaticals on the Focus and MPU podcast, I don’t think that is necessarily the case, especially for the Focus podcast. The idea of sabbaths, sabbaticals, or retreats is to withdraw from the whirl of daily activity and work to rest and to focus on one’s personal and professional callings and growth. This is the purpose of the weekly Sabbath described in the Bible: rest, reflection, worship, and restoration for the next week. This is extended in the Old Testament with the year of Jubilee. The Year of Jubilee was a year full of releasing people from their debts, returning property to who owned it and as a year of rest (not idleness). The idea of taking time away from the grind of the everyday is perfectly appropriate for the Focus podcast. If some feel like it is covered too much, just skip forward during the episode.
In short, a discussion of of sabbatical and retreats is perfectly appropriate for a podcast titled Focus but, to the OP’s point, most people are not in a position to take multiple days off to do so, those who can are a small niche group.