Written by Klaus Candussi

Adventure Sabbatical

I'm going to be lazy.

We’re all familiar with this: those who get to the office first are usually considered to be particularly eager to get to work and rarely merely pre-senile bedridden. Those whose office lights are still on late at night are not considered to be working slowly, but rather to have an extra portion of diligence. Great managers brag about their 18-hour workdays and about having taken neither vacation nor sick leave for years.

The interpretations of this work behavior are regionally and ‘religiously’ diverse. Protestant work ethic is often assumed, Alemannic origin, ditto. More rarely, but recently again and again, someone dares the more obvious attribution ‘totally stupid’.

How do I escape the hamster wheel?

Regarding the marathoners in the professional hamster wheel – recently, one of them even tried to convince us on the radio that he regularly works 20 hours a day – I rather wonder what is missing in their lives: brushing teeth, balcony flowers, walking or jogging, children or love life?

I have a slight suspicion that they deal with their time calculation in a similar way as they do with their tax return. Just as they include all private expenses in their tax return as business expenses, generously deduct vacations as business trips and golf clubs as work tools, perhaps they also include all visits to inns as work lunches, all hunting trips as business initiations and all visits to the doctor as ‘work’ under the heading of service and repairs.

Back to the roots

But people are not socialized this way everywhere. A German construction manager, for example, reports on his painful experience of simply not being taken seriously as a supervisor on a Mediterranean construction site. He learned from the locals that anyone who arrived first thing in the morning simply could not be a real boss. That was more a sign of slave status than of a leadership role.

Life does not spare us from learning experiences of a similar kind. We came up with many good factual arguments for anchoring a whole series of new work guzzis for atempo employees in the company agreement. Flexible working, community time budget and the right to a sabbatical month every 5 years, to name only the most important ones. Together with annual leave, this sabbatical should give everyone who works for us the opportunity not just to take a little time off, but to really take a step out of the work routine. This includes an airing out of the brain so that we can come back with new ideas. Good for body, mind – and company!

Sabbatical as good leadership behavior?

Real leaders, according to the instructive lesson that the atempo staff taught us by return of post, live themselves what they advise others to do. ‘Hic Rhodos, hic salta!’ a Latin proverb comes to mind (which at the same time can be seen as a reference to my geriatric age). ‘Don’t talk about what was elsewhere (on Rhodes), jump here and now!’

Well, so much for lifelong learning!

Being lazy as exemplary leadership behavior.

Here and now, the atempo founding team recommends itself as a role model for a sabbatical to the land of its southern ancestors. The curriculum includes subjects such as the history of German emperors in Palermo (Frederick II already knew where it’s beautiful), Sicilian cooking and eating according to Montalbano, and basic communication in the local language, as well as the free subjects ‘looking into the air from the roof terrace’ and ‘dolce far niente al bar’.

Being lazy as exemplary leadership behavior.

This is going to be exciting!

Klaus Candussi

Together with Walburga Fröhlich, Klaus Candussi founded atempo over 20 years ago. Today, as a manager, he dedicates himself to the business field of internationalization and thus drives forward the vision of a world in which all people can live, learn, and work with equal rights.

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