If there is one thing that makes me hate Canada (aside from the crappy childcare subsidies), it is the lack of holiday entitlement. Let it be known that I think it is disgusting that the normal person only gets ten days off/two weeks a year. Meanwhile in Europe, people take four to six weeks. I got seven at my university job in England. In order to be productive, people also need to rest, and that usually means needing four weeks off in the summer to properly recharge batteries. (Plus a week off at Christmas, Easter, etc…) This works in Europe, because everyone takes those four weeks off at the same time, so most businesses just shut down and everyone goes on holiday. This might sound strange to my North American readers, but guess what? It works. European companies manage to operate like this and still stay in business.
It was recently announced that Richemont’s billionaire chairman Johan Rupert is taking a year off (Richemont is the company that owns brands like Net A Porter, Cartier, and Piaget, amongst others.) “After 25 years, I think I have the right to just take a break.” he explains, and plans to visit Antarctica and read 50 books. Sounds like a bloody great idea! This, combined with the fact that both Phoebe Philo and Sarah Burton took real maternity leaves recently, is a great sign to the rest of the world that it is possible to be part of a successful fashion company, AND take time off! Imagine that.
My biggest career goal in life is to find a way to work no more than four days a week, and to be able to take summers off. I’d rather have less career success and less money, in exchange for time. In fact, the reason why I am living in Brackendale and not making loads of money in some high-stress fashion job is because I pretty much had this figured out when I graduated from the MA at St. Martins, and gave up the opportunity to take a design role in Paris. I really wish that they’d make you consider this in high school, when you think you want a fancy job and lots of money. I wish someone had sat me down and said “How can you find a a career you are going to like, and that will pay you decently, provide good benefits, and give you LOTS OF TIME OFF.”
Anyway, I just wanted to say that I think it is so cool that Rupert is taking a one year sabbatical (isn’t “sabbatical” one of the best words in the whole entire world?) I think everyone should do this: time off is essential to being productive, holidays are very important, and having time to rest is vital. On that note, I will be cutting down my blog content to three times a week from now until September (or maybe indefinitely, who knows.) I am going to Sweden this summer for two months to visit my in-laws and I don’t want to be working too much. Of course if something exciting happens, you will be hearing from me more than three times a week, and I’ll be doing couture show coverage as usual and sending you lots images of the wonderful things I will be seeing in Scandinavia. But other than that, I am focusing on relaxing, which is actually quite a difficult thing to do.
What are you guys doing this summer? I hope you are all taking a good chunk of time off.
P.S. Keep sending me your Ask Alexandra questions! I plan to try to respond to at least one a month, hopefully more! And if you want to stay connected, sign up for my email newsletter (on the side bar of this page) or stay connected via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!