strategySabbatical, in Latin: sabbaticus, in Greek: sabbatikos is a rest from work, often lasting from one month to a year.

Last year our CEO, Steve gave each of us a book, titled The 100-Year Life, by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, which explores the impact increasing longevity will have on society. It’s a fascinating read and particularly pertinent to someone working in the pensions industry.

However, the more I read, the more I realised that there were some personal lessons to take from the book. One paragraph, in particular resonated with me; it reads, ‘A life well lived requires careful planning in order to balance the financial and the non-financial, the economic and the physiological, the rational and the emotional. Family, friendships, mental health and happiness are all crucial components’.

I’ve always thought I get a reasonable balance on these things, although there are clearly times where things do go off kilter, and when that happens I work hard to pull things back in line. But the book made me question whether there was more I could be doing.

It recommends setting time aside to think, re-learn, re-skill and has a nice turn of phrase around re-creation being as important as recreation. As I read, I started to reflect on the fact that I had been working for over 40 years, had been fortunate to have never been out of work and had been even more fortunate to have had virtually no time off due to illness (and I want to keep it that way).

I also realised that I wasn’t yet ready to stop work – I work in an exciting company with some truly brilliant and wonderful people and we’ve got some great plans for the future, that I’d like to see come to fruition. However, the pace can be a bit relentless at times and occasionally I find it hard to think in a straight line. So I came to the conclusion that I would probably benefit from taking some time away from the business to mentally and physically de-clutter and spend a bit more time with those I love. It also occurred to me that those I work with might benefit from me being not being around for a while.

I chatted this through with Steve and he couldn’t have been more supportive – I did position it that it was his fault for giving me the book! Fortunately, I work for a company that has a sabbatical policy and I’ve got great colleagues who will pick up the workload whilst I’m gone.

The reaction to my decision has surprised me. Clients, colleagues, family and friends have been hugely enthusiastic and at least one client is considering introducing a sabbatical policy.

retirementSo today is my last day for two months. I intend to fully cut off from the business; I think the only way this is going to be truly beneficial is to pull the shutter down and allow the business to get on without me – which it clearly will. I’m really excited about taking this time out but will look forward to returning and finding out what’s gone on in my absence. I guess I have to hope that they haven’t got on too well!

I’ll be back…


Posted by Alan Morahan

Topics: Next Generation Savings

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