Learning Journeys

Sabbaticals crafted for learning, action, and changemd-blu-lin-mb




    Einstein’s genius lay in part in his readiness to recognize the need to let in air on the problem he was working to solve. Indeed, he said, “The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.” A wider point of view is needed.

    Sabbaticals In-House allow highly valued, especially mid- or late-career, employees to develop, execute, and integrate a structured program of learning based, like Einstein’s, on employees’ intuition and hunches about what they most need to learn next.


Sabbaticals In-House are different in three ways:


1. Sabbatical-takers stay put.

    Unlike traditional sabbaticals, which typically involve leaving the workplace entirely for a period of weeks or months, Sabbaticals In-House keep employees at work, giving them the opportunity to continuously integrate what they’re learning with their contributions to the workplace.

    The organization offers its highly valued employee paid time of 5 – 10 hours per week, for a suggested period of 1 to 3 months, enough to undertake a highly focused learning project of their choice while remaining on the job.


Everyone benefits:

Sabbatical-takers get life-changing experiences that transform their perspective on everyday work challenges and deepen their allegiance to the organization.


Because Sabbaticals In-House are “mini-sabbaticals,” co-workers have a more manageable task of covering the employee’s time and sabbatical-takers’ learning is available to be shared with them as it’s happening, rather than taking place offsite and “off-time.”


The organization gets refreshed problem-solving capabilities, complementary skills, and increased loyalty from employees it wishes to retain. The sabbatical-taker gets an important benefit of commitment to his or her growth from the organization.


2. Employees are free to learn anything they wish, provided they develop it into a coherent learning plan.

    Again, as Einstein told his son, in answer to his question about why his dad was so famous, “When a blind beetle crawls over the surface of a curved branch, it doesn’t notice that the track it has covered is indeed curved. I was lucky enough to notice what the beetle didn’t notice.” Einstein got out of his and others’ tired ways of thinking and solved problems perhaps because of his multiple interests not only in science but also in politics, religion, and the arts. You want that kind of liveliness on your team.

    In Sabbaticals In-House, sabbatical-takers are free to choose to undertake their learning in any field they wish to explore. Sara will help them identify resources, ensure an array of learning modalities, manage their time, harvest their learning, and apply the relevant learning to their work role. Often we are so linear in what we say an employee “needs” in order to develop professionally, that we miss the valuable lateral thinking that could help them address problems in their work roles in fresh ways.

3. The employees who most need the sabbatical are the ones who get it — not just the ones who are the best proposal writers.

    In traditional sabbatical programs, only those best in touch with how to articulate their learning needs and desires have a chance to have a sabbatical. But sometimes employees who might benefit most from a sabbatical have the hardest time articulating just what they would most like to learn — and thus don’t even have a chance to take one. (How many “stuck” adults do you know?)

    Bringing wisdom and a keen ability to sense what others have not yet been able to articulate, through in-depth interviewing Sara works individually with all who express an interest to surface and put into a strong proposal what they most need and want to investigate further. She helps everyone identify, flesh out, and articulate their Big Ideas, leveling the playing field so that those who most need the sabbaticals—get them!


The Sabbaticals In-House approach offers:



Safety for genuine learning

Exposure to lateral methods of getting at the learning through Sara’s experience across a wide array of business, services, education, and arts disciplines.

    Sara has partnered with hundreds of learners to devise individualized learning voyages that have brought them and those with whom they work fresh insights, skills, perspective, and professional renewal—a far different outcome than a packaged course might do.

Ask Sara to:

Collaborate with your HR department to devise an applicant proposal system to meet your needs

Offer opening workshop onsite to introduce Sabbaticals In-House program and invite proposals and schedule interview sessions to identify applicants' Big Ideas

Help applicants develop persuasive proposals through interviews and eliciting of each employee’s Big Ideas, ensuring a wider net of possible employees who can participate

Evaluate proposals and make recommendations of which to fund
Help successful applicants continuously identify relevant resources, manage learning time, and integrate ongoing learning with work responsibilities

Coach sabbatical-takers in process and offer feedback and guidance on their reflections and questions

Ensure successful integration of learning in the workplace

Facilitate Closing Workshop onsite for sabbatical-takers to share learning with co-workers.



Very tactful and encouraging with her feedback. The work was challenging and just what I needed to move me forward as I continue my growth as an administrator.


Having you push me outside my comfort zone was not always fun (I must admit) but it was so beneficial to me and my career.


She asks you to tread where you’re not comfortable but doesn’t demand it− all in the name of learning.

















 Sara has really increased my understanding of the importance of action research. She has helped me learn how to better analyze data and use it to better my work.



















 I have learned more from the way Sara Schneider guides me to learn than anyone ... She is just enough of all the qualities throughout the spectrum from tough all the way to caring and everything in between.