The Clif Sabbatical: Ben H
Every seven years, Clif Bar & Company wants us to leave. All of us, every employee, to get out. But it’s a good thing; in fact a great thing! It’s the Clif Bar sabbatical benefit—six to eight weeks to do whatever we want. To refresh ourselves. Recharge our batteries. Foster personal growth and renewal.
Believe us, we don’t take sabbatical for granted. We know we are fortunate. Only 3 percent of U.S. companies offer this enviable perk. In this series, we'll see what some of our employees have to say about it:
Ben, what were some highlights of your sabbatical?
I ran the San Francisco Half Marathon the first Sunday morning after I started sabbatical in July 2014. I really enjoyed it. We spent the whole weekend in San Francisco. We live in the Bay Area, but never have time to stay in the city and enjoy it like tourists.
We also spent lots of time with the kids. We took our daughter to see One Direction at the Rose Bowl. My son and I went on the trip, too, but not to the concert. My wife went to the show with my daughter. We flipped a coin about that. I won. She lost (laughter)! Seriously, for my daughter to see her favorite group at the Rose Bowl was something she’ll remember forever.
Where do you rank the sabbatical among Clif Bar’s many benefits?
I would rank sabbatical as our #1 benefit. It’s really your time to do whatever you want, knowing you’re still employed and getting a paycheck. You get to do what you dreamed of doing and never really had time to do. You come back feeling refreshed and focused, knowing your coworkers have covered for you.
How is it different from taking a two-week vacation?
The big thing with sabbatical is that you’re able to disconnect from work. On a two-week vacation, you’re checking emails or thinking about the work you have to do. On sabbatical, you’re not involved with emails and work, and you know that other people are covering for you.
How did it affect your family?
When school started for my kids during the latter part of my sabbatical, my son played sick to stay home with me. We let him stay home for a couple of days, but then I told him that I was going back to work so he had to go back to school. I guess he wanted a mini-sabbatical, too! My daughter is already calculating the time until my next one. She’ll be graduating from high school. Even my kids are thinking about sabbatical!