You’ve surely heard someone tell this story before: they were once young with dreams and ambitions. But as they got older, those dreams were cast aside as jobs, bills, marriage, and children took up all of their time.
Minnesota advertising company Barrie, D’Rozario, and Murphy (BDM) wants to make sure their employees never have to tell that story again.
At the start of this summer, due to a cyclical lull in their business, the company gave every employee 500 paid hours off. They told employees not to waste their time, but to instead use it to pursue something they’d always wanted to but never had the time for.
“You have 500 hours of your life back, figure out what you're passionate about and go and do it,” their message to employees said.
When co-owner D’Rozario first approached his business partners about the idea they scoffed at him.
“My initial reaction was, 'You're crazy, right? Are you seriously suggesting this?’” Barrie said. But after speaking with his wife, Barrie was convinced that the idea was not only feasible, but also a great thing to do. The company had built up a considerable amount of cash during their first seven years in business, and would still be able to service their clients while their employees were away.
“I said, 'Why do you think we should do it?'” Barrie said. “And she said, 'Because you can.' And at that moment I realized that was the best reason of all."
BDM employees made the most of their time off. Some volunteered at homeless shelters; others traveled, painted, and made music and pottery.
Art and Creative Director Steve Rudasics said his hope for his time off was “replacing ‘I wish I had’ with ‘I did.’”
D’Rozario hopes that once the employees return to work, they’ll realize that they still have time to pursue their dreams in the midst of their daily schedules.
“Honestly, my big hope for this is now that they're back, people realize, the things you wanted to do, you could always be doing and find a place for it in your lives," he said.