I start to get interested in baseball about early fall every year. Frankly, with 160+ games a year, it’s pretty difficult for me to get too worked up about the games until they’ve been at it for a while. It’s that time of year now and I recently took my son to a San Francisco Giants* game. A strong case could be made that professional sports are way over-commercialized, but I have to tell you – it is pretty great being out at the ball game. The grass, dirt, sky, crowd, peanuts, hot dogs, and beer… all the makings of a great day!
If you’ve been to a professional baseball game before, you might remember that in the middle of the seventh inning, the tradition is to take a short break from the game. You stand up, stretch and sing a song, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”. It’s kind of amazing—people sing in public! People who would never, ever sing in public under normal circumstances stand up and belt it out. It’s a highlight of the afternoon and it comes at a good time. The seventh inning is about the right time to take a break. Pretty much every person at every game in every stadium honors the seventh-inning stretch with a song.
One of the rather unique benefits offered by Intel is our own version of the seventh-inning stretch. We call it sabbatical. After seven years with Intel, you take a break from work and have to stand up and sing in your cubicle. No, no, just kidding. Actually, after seven years of fulltime service, U.S. and Canadian employees** are eligible to take eight weeks off. Paid. No singing. Well, I take that back. Some people do sing. Let me explain.
Sabbatical, like the seventh-inning stretch, is a good point to take break. To stand and stretch; to do something different for a while. Maybe you’ve always wanted to take singing lessons but between work and a busy home life, you just never get around to it. That’s a great idea for sabbatical. Perhaps you are curious if baseball was really derived from cricket. On your sabbatical, travel to England or India and find out first hand. Intel employees do some amazing things on sabbatical – Amazon River explorations, intensive courses of study in a given subject, community involvement, and more. Some have amazingly relaxing “staycations”. And I’m sure some have taken singing lessons.
I find that Intel employees really value the sabbatical benefit. Employees have “count-downs” to their first sabbatical on their office walls and long-tenured employees smile with a knowing jealousy. Sometimes, when employees return from sabbatical, there are parties or good-natured pranks played on them. (Check out what happened to Gary’s cube below!) Sabbatical is a tradition that sort of draws employees together. We work hard and do great things Intel. And when it comes to the seventh inning, Intel makes sure we have a chance stand, stretch, and sing out! But be ready for someone to tell you to take singing lessons!
*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.
**Although Intel’s Sabbatical program is specific to the U.S. and Canada, we also have paid-time off options in other countries. Click here to find out more about Intel’s different compensation and benefits packages offered around the world.