Peace through karate: helping staff strike a balance

A UK karate expert has used the thinking behind his sport to find the ideal IT industry employer.

A UK karate expert has used the thinking behind his sport to find the ideal IT industry employer.

Richard Peace, a product manager, says the SAS Institute philosophy of helping staff strike a balance between work and their private lives is akin to the teachings of karate, which he has followed for 15 years.

The Japanese founding master of his karate group preaches balance and focus in life as part of the martial art, rather than competitiveness through tournaments.

In a similar way, Peace says, SAS Institute - a supplier of system development and data analysis software - does not expect its staff to sacrifice their private lives for the company, and rarely indulges in the showmanship the US software industry is prone to.

In the past SAS has supported him in his passion for karate by allowing him two weeks' unpaid leave to take examinations towards becoming a black belt.

It is this similarity in spirit between his employer and his karate group that has kept Peace working for SAS for 10 years. He studied business computer systems at university.

"I chose SAS because it could offer a career in technology, consultancy and training - a balance of skills that would allow me to explore different areas. It all relates back to karate and wanting to have balance in my life."

"If the philosophy was that of selling for the sake of selling and not being honest, I wouldn't still be here. "Karate helps my career because I can practice its teachings in my work life - and I can apply what I'm learning in my job to my karate. It really is a two-way thing."

After two years as a technical consultant at SAS he moved into sales support and then into the data warehousing team. He is now in product management.

This was last published in May 2000

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