THE GREAT SABBATICAL IS HERE — BUT HOW TO MAKE IT WORK?
A Passionate Plaidoyer For Our “Right to Retire” and Reinvent Ourselves Every 10 years
Arguably, there has never been a better time to ‘take time out’ — as long as you can make ends meet. Why? BECAUSE the world is bubbling and aching and bursting in need of transformation. BECAUSE there’s no chance for sustainable change without a shift in us viewing ourselves, our relationships, our purpose. Without learning and experimenting. Without reframing and re-becoming. Without metamorphosis. BECAUSE the average individual only uses 20% of her or his talents during their lifetime. BECAUSE there’s an incredible amount of knowledge and development out there — thanks also to the digitisation during the pandemic. And BECAUSE whilst we’re busily running around from 9 to 5 we simply cannot sufficiently reflect, learn, try out new practices and step into new identities. The world needs a collective shabbat!
But as Bill Torbert once claimed, we don’t really have a “theory of leisure”. In economics, we simply define leisure as the absence of work. And not having work in our job-centric society quickly becomes problematic. Here’s some insight from unemployment research: If you have taken the big jump, or are about to, beware of these significant threats to your psychological wellbeing:
1. Financial anxiety
2. Loss of variety: less places to go, fewer things to do. Television and housework take over
3. Loss of traction: less structure and fewer goals and tasks. Not even to mention the loss of your secretary and back office
4. Reduced scope for decisions: lots of freedom but much less to be “free about”
5. Less skill development
6. More psychological threats — how do you present yourself at the next dinner party or interview
7. More insecurity about the future
8. Less interpersonal contact: you lose some contacts, and some “lose you”
9. Loss of status — and of the self-concept and identity that comes with your job title
Not everybody will experience it the same way. But research shows that if you’re middle class, middle aged, and totally committed to work it’s going to get tough. All of this can be mitigated, so make sure you have a great plan to turn the great resignation into the great flourishing!
Above all, this is a historic, unique, splendid time to make a real difference. The world needs you. Your energy, insights, skills, spirit. And, of course, the only way to have real impact is to unite with others. Hence, in case you get bored or stuck just let us know — there are lots of opportunities to become the change we want to see.
Most importantly, is it worth it? Totally.