October 20, 2016

You, Too, Can Take Six Weeks Off

You, Too, Can Take Six Weeks Off Note:  I have been really quite on OnlyOnce for a few months, I realize.  It’s been a busy stretch at work and at home.  I keep a steady backlog of blog topics to write about, and finally today I’ve grabbed a couple minutes on a flight to knock one out.  We’ll see if this starts me back on a more steady diet of blogging – I miss it! I’ve written in the past about our sabbatical policy at Return Path, from what it is (here) to how much I enjoyed my own (here), to how great it is when my direct reports have been on Sabbatical so I can walk a few miles in their shoes (here and here). But recently, a fellow CEO asked me if there was a special set of rules or advice on taking a sabbatical as a CEO.  My quick answer to his specific question was: Well, first, you and your co-founder can’t take them at the same time. 🙂 But I have a longer list of thoughts as well.  It’s not easy, but as I’ve said many times, it’s important and wonderful.  Some tips: You have to […]

January 2, 2014


I’ve written a few times over the years about our Sabbatical policy at Return Path, including this post and this post about my experience as CEO when one of my direct reports was on his sabbatical, and this post about my own sabbatical. People ask me this all the time, so I thought I’d write the policy out here.  This is the language in our employee handbook about them: You have big dreams. We know. This is your chance to cross something off your life list. Whether it’s climbing Mt. Everest, learning Russian or taking your kids across the country […]

October 27, 2011

More Than 1/3 of Your Life

More Than 1/3 of Your Life When I was a kid, so my parents tell me, I used to watch a lot of TV. For some reason, all those episodes of Gilligan’s Island and Dallas still have a place in my brain, right next to lyrics from 70s and 80s songs and movies. I also tend to remember TV commercials, which are even more useless (not that JR Ewing or Ferris Beuller had all that many valuable life lessons to impart).  Anyway, I remember some commercial for some local mattress company which started out with the booming voiceover, “You spend […]

September 29, 2009

Closer to the Front Lines, Part II

Closer to the Front Lines, II Last year, I wrote about our sabbatical policy and how I had spent six weeks filling in for George when he was out.  I just finished up filling in for Jack (our COO/CFO) while he was out on his.  Although for a variety of reasons I wasn’t as deeply engaged with Jack’s team as I was last year with George’s, I did find some great benefits to working more directly with them. In addition to the ones I wrote about last year, another discovery, or rather, reminder, that I got this time around was […]

March 26, 2008

Closer to the Front Lines

Closer to the Front Lines When we started Return Path, we added a little clause to our employee handbook that entitled people to a sabbatical after 7 years of service (and then after every 5 incremental years).  Six weeks off, 3/4 pay.  Full pay if you do something “work related.”  Sure, we thought.  That’s an easy thing to give.  We’ll never be 7 years old as a company.  Now, 8 1/2 years later, of course, the first wave of people are reaching their sabbatical date.  A couple have already gone (one trip around the world, one quality time with the […]