Taisir Anbar (firstname.lastname@example.org), 24, management consultant, Mercer Management Consulting Inc., Washington, DC.
Constantly travelling and working up to 130 hours a week took its toll on Taisir Anbar. "You start to wonder when you put off flying home to hang out with friends, because you'd only be home for one night anyway." Basically, his monthly rent paid for some really nice storage space.
"I reached the point where I wasn't as willing to make the kind of sacrifices that I had initially accepted. I also became more intent on checking off goals on my lifetime to-do list."
Anbar decided to take some R&R through his company's sabbatical program, which allows consultants to take one or two months off per year — in addition to vacation time. During his first month off, he hiked in Spain along the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile pilgrimage route largely unchanged since the Middle Ages. He spent his second month visiting friends and family in the United Arab Emirates. For Anbar, the sabbatical was a smart way to detox.
"Time somehow shifts when you have the freedom to take an afternoon nap in an olive grove," he says. "You begin to measure time by experiences rather than by deadlines." He needed it: "I was no longer doing justice to my job or to my lifestyle. The sabbatical reaffirmed my commitment to lead a balanced life."
A version of this article appeared in the February 2001 issue of Fast Company magazine.