Reboot Your Life and Reboot Partners, LLC offer personal, professional, and corporate consulting and sabbatical coaching.

Reboot News

May 24, 2010

Rethinking Retirement

No matter what your age, you are probably rethinking retirement.

Generation X and Yers are more likely to change jobs, and even careers, as much as seven to eight times in their lives. They already view retirement as one of those changes.

It is we Baby Boomers who are grappling with the triple whammys the recession brought…loss of jobs or forced early retirement, loss of assets in our retirement and savings accounts, and loss of value in our homes – something we were banking on to further fund retirement when we sold it or got a reverse mortgage.

The statistics aren’t pretty: According to AARP, since the end of 2007, the US has lost more than 8 million jobs. Among workers over 55, the jobless rate has more than doubled from 3.2 to 6.9 percent. The weak labor market has made the duration of joblessness for workers age 55 and up expanded from 20 in late 2007 to 36 weeks as of February 2010. The numbers rose from 53,000 to 287,000 of older workers looking for jobs during the same period.

Throughout America, out-of-work Boomers face the danger of being unable to finance 20 or 30 years of retirement, especially if they hang onto old attitudes about work.

But it is just this type of unexpected challenge that can actually be a blessing in disguise. And what it takes to think about it that way is giving ourselves the “gift of time.”

A number of the Reboot Your Life Retreat attendees have been people who have had an “unexpected sabbatical.” Yet, they have consciously taken the time to “grieve” their loss, regroup and refresh themselves before starting the next phase of their lives.

By spending their time wisely on their “unexpected sabbatical,” they not only are giving  themselves the needed break, they are taking the time to explore new interests, skills and opportunities before they begin the job search. Many of the “lessons learned” in our soon-to-be-published book, Reboot Your Life, are as useful for an unexpected time off or a pre-retirement sabbatical as a planned one.

Some examples are:

The “Funding Your Freedom” chapter has great advice on managing a budget and finding new sources of income.

The “Living the Lifelong Sabbatical” chapter shows how others are integrating their careers and time off in a more balanced way…a model for easing into a quasi-retired lifestyle, where parttime work and other pursuits are combined.

The “It’s All In the Planning” chapter is focused on helping people, through various exercises, identify and explore new areas of interest and skill development.

Join our blog community to connect to others who are rethinking retirement and learn how they are creatively finding new sources of income!

May 24, 2010

The Recession is Receding…Now What?

Thankfully, we are beginning to see signs that the recession is on the way out and there continues to be good economic news each day.  Yet unemployment lags the upturn and people are still concerned about their positions, their savings and the future. In fact, we are a nation on the verge of burnout – both from the higher levels of stress over the past two years as well as the piling on of responsibilities where we work. We are ready for a change and having a way to make that happen is of interest.

According to a 2009 Gallup Poll and information from Monster.com, statistics underscore the stress people are feeling in the workplace and the desire for change.  American workers are working more hours than they did 20 years ago, with men averaging 49.9 hours and women 44 hours per week.  Eighty-six percent of workers are experiencing job stress, and half describe their stress as “extreme fatigue” or “feeling out of control.”  Sixty percent of workers feel pressure to work more than they want to, while 83% of employees want more time with their families.  Over 50% of employees are either somewhat or completely dissatisfied with their jobs, and 83% of workers plan to look for a new job as the economy improves.”

How can taking a “reboot break” help you plan for change?  Our soon-to-be-published book,  Reboot Your Life, describes the ways taking a sabbatical has helped many people plan, and take, time off. Whether it was a month, three months or a year, the “gift of time” was pivotal to people in addressing the stressful parts of their lives and finding ways to renew and refresh their personal and professional selves. Just having downtime or time to exercise or to care for a family member relived the stress of guilt and multitasking. Having time to think about, or experience through an internship ,new career opportunities gave them the ability to see a way out of a stressful job. Having time to explore the world through travel or themselves through introspection freed them from many internal stresses. Learning to “live light” during the sabbatical period helped them be less stressed about finances. People we interviewed who took time off work consistently said it helped them change their attitudes, behaviors and lives.

First see if your employer has a sabbatical program and if you are eligible. Consider taking a paid or unpaid leave of absence. Is this the time to go back to school and upgrade your skills? Can you dip into savings or use a windfall to “fund your freedom”?  Join our blog community and find out what others have done, or better yet, join us at one of our upcoming Reboot Your life Retreats in Sag Harbor, the Berkshires or Santa Fe, to get yourself thinking about time off.

An investment in yourself is your best investment for the future. A sabbatical gives you the “gift of time” to do that!

October 30, 2009

BAI Banking Strategies Magazine Article

Reboot Your Life Retreats and the “Unexpected Sabbatical” are featured in a new article by Orla O’Sullivan in the BAI Banking Strategies Magazine An excerpt:

Regardless of the current state of the job market, unemployed bankers face common issues. One is whether to use the layoff as a kind of sabbatical to plot out the second act of your career or to simply grab the first job that comes along.

“Don’t run to the first job,” advises Santa Fe Group CEO Catherine Allen, who suggests that unemployed bankers instead give themselves “the gift of time” to think about their future. Coincidental with the financial crash last fall, Allen was co-authoring a book on sabbaticals when her publisher saw the need to include discussion of the unplanned sabbatical – being fired.

As part of that research, Allen and her colleagues this year began running periodic career “reboot” retreats around the country. The idea behind these sessions is that spending a weekend reflecting on your options can help clarify what to do next. There are exercises designed to show where your passions lie and who or what blocks you from pursuing them. Funding a career change or time off is also covered.

Annie Searle, for example, embarked on a month-long train journey around the country after being laid off from the failed Washington Mutual Inc. (WaMu) in March. Searle, who had been WaMu’s senior vice president and divisional executive in charge of enterprise risk, attended Allen’s reboot retreat in Santa Fe as part of that trip.

“It confirmed for me that I was on the right track,” Searle says, crediting the retreat with imparting the need for better work/life balance. The privacy and relaxation of her train journey also allowed her to work on the key question: “If I could do whatever I wanted, what would it be?”

She has subsequently started up her own consulting company advising various industries on preparing for disasters, such as, H1N1 influenza (Swine Flu). But she credits the train journey and reboot retreat with giving her enough breathing room to plot out her next move. “Time slows down on a train,” Searle says.

You can read the full article here

May 8, 2009

Funding Your Freedom

Are you thinking, “I can’t afford to take a career break?” One of the biggest challenges people face in taking time off is how to finance it. There are many ways to fund your freedom.

Maybe you fear that tapping your savings will leave you vulnerable.  Maybe you need to continue your health insurance from your employer.  Maybe you are fearful that you won’t find another job.  Or maybe you fear criticism from your family and friends.  And in this economic environment, you are afraid to “rock the boat.”

We are hoping you’ll share ways you funded your time off with us in this Blog. Here are a few ways we personally funded our times off as well as ways we heard from others. Think of it as three categories of financial support: saving for your break; making money during the break; and cutting expenses while on your break.

Saving for Your Break:

Some people fund their time off using some of their vacation, education, or travel savings funds. Or they tap their severance packages, if they are lucky enough to get them. Or they use some “windfall” such as bonuses, inheritances, family gifts, or tax refunds. Some create a “sabbatical fund” and ask family and friends to contribute in lieu of birthday and holiday gifts.

Financing a Sabbatical While On One:

Earning money while on sabbatical is another way to fund your freedom. Start with discussions with your current employer to see if they will fund all or part of your time off, or at least allow you to continue your health insurance and retirement contributions. Other examples are writing for a magazine, getting someone to sponsor your travel blog, working as a travel companion, teaching or doing lectures, or getting a grant for research while you are off. The trick is to not substitute one type of work for another that leaves you with no downtime or room for reflection and renewal.

Cutting Costs:

Costs during a sabbatical should be considered differently than in your ongoing life. The goals is to minimize your costs at home so you can maximize enjoyment from the money you do have and not dig into savings too far. A few examples include:

*Rent or trade your home or apartment
*Prepay big one-time bills such as insurance, taxes, retirement contributions before you take time off
*Sell your car or park it and cancel the insurance temporarily
*Cook in more and choose ethnic restaurants for eating out to explore the experience as well as save money
*Stop your cable service and cancel club fees temporarily and explore other ways to entertain yourself that are free…make it a challenge to see what you can do
*Do budget travel rather than business-type travel and really get to know the country and culture

What stories do you have on how you funded your time off? Please share them with us as well as specific resource ideas.