pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Tue Nov 26 17:12:41 EST 2002

Subject:   Sabbaticals

(from INNOVATION, 10 July 2002)

The sabbatical -- once the privileged perk of tenured professors --
is moving from academia into the mainstream as corporate America
looks for  alternatives to layoffs and ways to avoid employee
burnout. According to a recent survey by Mercer Human Resource
Consulting, 15% of the 450 large  employers polled offered paid
sabbaticals last year, up from 11% in 1998, with an additional 5%
considering such a move. "It helps companies cut  costs in the short
term, and it gives employees the opportunity to go out and try
different kinds of things they wouldn't otherwise have the
opportunity to do," says Accenture HR director Keith Hicks. The
practice is  especially popular among Generation Xers (born between
1964 and 1978). A 2001 survey by the nonprofit Catalyst group found
that 18% of Gen Xers were currently on sabbatical or semi-paid
leaves of absence. Meanwhile, a  Principal Financial Group study
found that more than half the employees in  small and midsize
companies enthusiastically endorsed the idea of a  sabbatical. An
additional 47% said they would like to take one but  couldn't, due
to financial pressures or inflexible employers. Fueling the  trend
is the ever-present problem of employee burnout, but experts say 
changing American attitudes about the workplace are also
responsible. The  dot-com fizzle and the end of the 1990s
work-around-the-clock mentality are  making timeouts more
attractive, and workplace experts say the new "free  agent" approach
to work lends itself to sabbaticals. "Employees are driving the
movement themselves," says Roger Herman, CEO of the futurist 
consultancy The Herman Group. "They're saying, 'I want control of my
career destiny and if I feel like I need a break, I'm going to take
one.' If that  company wants to support that, fine. If not, goodbye.
There's no question  Sept. 11 has played a role. People went home
from work immediately to be  with their families and their loved
ones, and there was this sense of, 'Is this really worth it?'"
(American Demographics Jun 2002)
http://demographics.com/ar/time/index.htm (sub req'd)

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