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