Boundless #36 - What happens when you take an extended break from work?
#1 Don't Quit, But Maybe Take Some Rest?
Over the last year, I've had many conversations with people who have all found the same thing.
They find a renewed sense of energy for things they did not expect when they take an extended break (typically 4 or more weeks).
The list of things people told me they start doing is vast. Volunteering, rock climbing, spending time with their kids, writing, gardening, meditating, volunteering for a crisis phone network, re-connecting with friends, joining a choir, traveling, reading the book they always wanted to, exercises, prioritizing health. It goes on.
However, the thought of taking a break - time off from work that is - is terrifying for people. Some of these concerns are real, while some are more programmed into us from our beliefs and expectations around what a good person should be doing with their time.
I know several people that have enough money to support their lives for more than a year without making any money whatsoever. These are the people most likely to tell me "you can't just stop working!" or "what would I do with the time?"
Part of this is driven by the belief that if you take time off from your career that you might miss out on opportunities. Here's the thing: this is 100% true. You definitely will miss out on opportunities - but this is based on the assumption that one's role in life should be to maximize every job opportunity in life and that those opportunities are what you really want to do with your time. Another part of this is based on the reality that you likely won't be able to predict what you will do with your time.
This is why I am sharing some of the stories in the link below.
In almost every case, people are finding a new part of themselves, re-awakening old interests or re-assessing their definitions of success.
I read an article about the Millennial experience with anxiety last week that I might have rolled my eyes at a few years ago. Here is a select quote from the piece:
My new watchword was “Everything that’s good is bad, everything that’s bad is good”: Things that should’ve felt good (leisure, not working) felt bad because I felt guilty for not working; things that should’ve felt “bad” (working all the time) felt good because I was doing what I thought I should and needed to be doing in order to succeed.
I've talked to hundreds of people over the past couple of years who explicitly or implicitly act on this belief. It's not getting people anywhere.
Perhaps you might want to start thinking about designing a planned sabbatical?
Are you thinking about taking a planned sabbatical? Going nomadic? Exploring a "freelance year"? Transitioning your full-time job to a remote job? Just want a better relationship with work?
I am kicking off a two-month group coaching experiment March 1st which I am tentatively calling "Reimagine Work" which will bring together 8+ people (I won't confirm it until we have a minimum number of people). We will have twice a month group video sessions, tons of content and exercises which I have already created, a private discussion group, new content I will create on-demand and other surprises.
If you are interested, sign up here.
#2 Podcast: Guest Episode (Adam Grant x Joe Dumars)
Part of what drives me is featuring other people's creations.
This week I am cross-posting a fascinating episode from Cody Royle, who appeared on Boundless as one of the early guests. He just launched his podcast, Where Others Won't, which looks at the lessons of sports and how they might apply to the business world.
In this episode, he did a joint interview of Joe Dumars of the Detroit Pistons and Adam Grant, a professor who studies performance at work. What made this stand out was the classic Moneyball analytics vs. "gut instinct" viewpoint of the world. In many cases, it seemed that the research on work was insufficient to understand what was really happening whereas Dumars had actionable examples that seemed to work.
Cities are now younger than rural areas. It used to be the opposite:
"In the 1950s, rural counties were an average five years younger than cities. By the 1990s, city and country were about the same. But by 2010, cities were six years younger than rural areas. Rural counties had aged twelve years in the second half of the twentieth century, thanks to the emptying-out of the young; cities had aged an average of only two."
Your Wild And Crazy Life (by Mary Oliver)
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
#4 Reads / Listens
1. Work Doesn't Have To Be Crazy: I've written about Basecamp many times in the past, but I think this Kara Swisher interview with Jason Fried is a gem. Fried speaks so simply about many decisions that fly in the face of what everyone else is doing in the business world:Never wanting to become a serial entrepreneurNot taking VC fundingAvoiding things like Slack and other IM appsNot wanting to grow anymore (# of people)Never working more than 40 hours a weekNot doing any projects that take more than six weeksMy hypothesis about organizations that will thrive in the future is that they will need to decide on a set of operational and organizational constraints that give employees and teams space to create and work. Too much of what goes on in modern organizations is actually not work at all, but planning for work or taking care of simple tactical tasks via reactionary e-mails, tasks or chats.
2. A lecture from Pieter Levels on self-funding & monetizing your own digital creations: here
3. #goodreads: Weekly Reads #102 and 175+ Links From 2018
4. Last week's essay - 10 biggest career myths
#5 Question Of The Week
#6 Carve Your Path
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