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“Reboot Your Life”by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley and Jaye Smith 240 pages$15, paperbackBeaufort Books, April 2, 2011
“Reboot Your Life”
by Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley and Jaye Smith

240 pages
$15, paperback
Beaufort Books, April 2, 2011

Book Review: Advice in 'Reboot' tempting but impractical for some

Posted online
Now that school is out for the summer and the sunshine has arrived, it’s not too hard to think about taking some time off work.

A new book by four authors who call themselves The Sabbatical Sisters, however, advocates not just for taking a break, but for taking a really long break.

In “Reboot Your Life,” Catherine Allen, Nancy Bearg, Rita Foley and Jaye Smith define the new sabbatical – which they’ve dubbed a Reboot Break – as a period of time that’s ideally at least three months long.

Admittedly, the first time I read that, I laughed, given that I’m not too sure there are many employers that would actually approve such long periods away. Even teachers, who “don’t work” during the summer stay plenty busy finding reading materials, planning lessons or researching new activities. The authors outline two types of sabbaticals. One would be the traditional sort, when an employee gains company approval for an extended break, returning at the appointed time to the same job. The other, they say, is the between-gigs sabbatical, taken after leaving a current job but before a new position begins.

Then, too, the authors note a third class of sabbatical, the unexpected, such as time off due to a layoff.

Some books with multiple authors can be difficult to read, but that wasn’t the case for “Reboot.” It helps that the book is designed to allow readers to pick it up, flip through and focus on topics of specific interest.

My first question, after realizing just how long the authors want people to step away from work, was just how they expected those breaks to be financed. But not to worry – that’s where Chapter 4 came in handy.  

Up to Chapter 4, the authors do a fair job of illustrating why people need to take time away from work, even outlining, by age group, the attitudes that exist about doing so. There are exercises and anecdotes about people who have taken Reboot Breaks, complete with what worked for them – or didn’t.

The fourth chapter, “Funding Your Freedom,” covers tips on saving for time off, including anticipating unexpected expenses or special circumstances. Because a sabbatical is meant to refresh, the authors suggest thinking long and hard about financing breaks by cashing out a retirement fund or selling a home or business. They offer alternatives, including living light or using a windfall, such as an inheritance.

The suggestion I found most surprising is to fund a break by finding a way to get paid while off work. Among the suggestions: Rent your house, second home, office or other real estate to provide income; apply for grants or fellowships, freelance your skills to other companies; find opportunities to give lectures abroad, or try out another passion by getting another job. I admit, it was the idea of taking time off from one job just to get another that really left me scratching my head, but the authors say the caveat is not to get so focused on making money that it defeats the purpose of taking time off in the first place. They suggest that if a new job is obtained, it’s a good idea to put enough boundaries in place to allow for free time. (Come to think of it, wouldn’t that be a good idea in existing jobs?)

Perhaps because they realize not everyone will be able to unplug from work for three months at a time, the authors do make suggestions for shorter periods, such as those who might only have a month.

Whether someone is taking a few days or a few weeks, though, this book gives some great insights on making the most of time away from work.

Maria Hoover is Features Editor of Springfield Business Journal. She may be reached at mhoover@sbj.net.[[In-content Ad]]

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