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McDonald's Puts Action Behind "You Deserve a Break Today"

Uh, yeah … that’s me with the funny hair. I’m kinda crazy about someone you know.

Digital nomad Chris Brogan talks about how McDonald’s is pretty darned smart, how it’s a business run by savvy business people and master marketers, even if the fast-and-fatty chain is “antithetical to all you hold pure and dear”.

Serving up mystery (and certainly not organic) meat and paying near-minimum wages is so un-progressive. Yet when other seemingly-progressive companies balk at offering sabbaticals to their employees, guess who’s been serving up sabbaticals since the 1960s?? That’s right, McDonald’s was one of the first to adopt the practice, backing up “You deserve a break today” with real action.

Company staff get a break every 10 years – 8 weeks’ paid to go and do whatever their hearts desire. Every year, thousands go. The company has veteran employees who have had three and four sabbaticals.

Ronald and I go way back. You see, I’m a road-trip Micky Deezer. When I’m at home, I eat fresh, organic fare from Whole Paycheck (Whole Foods) and sup with friends at all the foodie faves in Atlanta. But put me on the road for more than three hours, and I can’t help but take an exit ramp to McDonald’s. Super-size me, please. French fries, Filet-o-Fish, and a diet Coke, thank you very much.

After I’ve finished … dug out any fries that have fallen down beside my car seat, wiped down my steering wheel with a Handi Wipe (I’m not kidding), and disposed of the bag, so it doesn’t stink up my car … I am often disgusted with myself. Until I remind myself that I just gave a little money to a company that was a trailblazer in providing the kind of career ladder that I believe should be a part of every American story – a career “lattice”, really, that includes sabbaticals along the way, allowing people to work AND live.

So here’s to you, Ronnie – I love you, man.

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About Elizabeth Pagano

Founding Partner, yourSABBATICAL.com.

Elizabeth consults with organizations on leadership/talent development. She is co-author of THE TRANSPARENCY EDGE: How Credibility Can Make or Break You in Business (McGraw-Hill), which has been translated into four languages and is now in paperback. A former business journalist, articles by and about her have appeared in a wide array of business publications, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, CNN International, Outside Magazine, Oprah.com, Journal of Accountancy, CBS News, Web CPA, Business to Business, Talent Management, Employee Benefit News, Manage Smarter, and Canada’s Globe and Mail. You can find her book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Transparency-Edge-Elizabeth-Pagano/dp/0071458840/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291230117&sr=8-1.

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After 9/11, Elizabeth sailed with her mother on their family's 43-foot Beneteau, "Revival". To read more about their adventure at sea, go to http://yoursabbatical.com/about/team/pagano-sailing-sabbatical/. Since their sailing sabbatical, Elizabeth and her mother have been working tirelessly to ensure that every career path includes a sabbatical or two.

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