Big-Time Lawyer Takes Big BreakAway Bait

Posted on: Sunday, April 12th, 2009
Posted in: Sabbatical Shuffle, Blog | Leave a comment

This New York Times story might, for a moment, invoke grave jealousy.  After all, not many folks get offered $80,000—one-third of their base salary—to take a year off from their lawyer life.  (Actually the story has sparked quite a bit of spirited debate on the readers’ comments page, where opinions range from envy to encouragement to outrage.)

But more power to her.  She’s taking the bait and going around the world!  What’s more, she easily fulfills my Top 5 BreakAway Basics.    

  • Accept your mission.  She’s going to teach English to monks and promote solar power.  Hot! 
  • Get out of town.  RTW?  Only the moon might offer more remoteness. 
  • Take your time.  We suggest at least a few months; she’s got a whole year! 
  • Exercise fiscal fitness.  Wow.  She’s getting paid and keeping her job. 
  • Seek a better place.  Personally, she’s going for growth.  Globally, she’s helping others and Planet Earth. 
3 cheers to the law firm too—for sincerely offering this sabbatical opportunity as a gift.  They suggest pro bono work, but apparently will wink if you prefer to watch TV.  As a wise (and rich) man once taught me, when you truly give a gift, let the recipient do whatever they want with it.  No requests, suggestions, or strings attached. 
Why might some employees turn down this Sabbatical offer?  Often, it’s the fear that, once you’re gone, you’ll be proven expendable and thus easily fired.  So 55 cheers to the firm for creating policy that “if there are layoffs while they are away, they will be immune.”  Brilliant. 
Finally, high-5s to the New York Times for reminding us,
Sometimes it takes getting thrown out of the office to notice there is a life outside.” 

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