In my research around work and life skills development, I came across the following views expressed about an extended period away from work:
“The time off helped me gain perspective. It’s easy to put your head down, look up 20 years later, and wonder about all the things you didn’t do.”
“My idea of listening used to be waiting for someone else to stop talking. I learned to sit, stay quiet and observe.”
“It gave me confidence. I was also able to let go of the work I was doing and see a much wider context.”
“In our business, you spend your life looking ahead to the next meeting, the next presentation. On that trip, I felt ‘present’ in my own life. Now I’m back to work, that feeling hasn’t gone away.”
“I’ve changed my perspective of work. I realise now that work is not just transactional but about relationships between people who share common goals but also have a diversity of overall opinions and wider aims.”
“The big issues seem smaller now; not at all daunting. Everything is much clearer.”
Working with senior people who are using a period in management consultancy as a way of regenerating their enthusiasm, creativity and balance, I’ve noticed that they experience many of the effects described above.
I’ll leave you with a thought from one astute CEO of a major creative organisation who said, “Companies find that if they don’t give people the opportunity to take time off, they’ll burn out and leave – or worse still, they’ll burn out and stay!”
Other articles by this author:
- Working longer and portfolio careers.
- How to: Give presentations that move people to action.
- How to: Understand what your people really think.