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Don't Punch The Clock, Turn It Off

Many twenty-somethings are shaking up office traditions by asking for extended time off.

Since graduating from Northwestern University near Chicago seven years ago, Bela Barner has worked for three companies and taken a year off to work in Budapest for a nonprofit group. This fall, he returns to graduate school for a degree in international business.

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Frank Russell Co., a pension-fund consultant in Tacoma, Wash., has granted unpaid leave to several of its younger workers in recent years.

Ten years ago, "it would have been unusual [for someone] at that point in their career to say, 'I want to be out of here for three months,' " says Rebecca Splinter, director of compensation and benefits for the 1,300-person firm.

As a result, the company's older workers want to do the same, she says. "First they say, 'We could never do that [when were were that age].' Then they say, 'We want to do that too.' "

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