Let’s just go ahead and acknowledge that most of this post will be a thinly-veiled brag about an absurd amount of time off, so take it with a grain of salt. Automatticians that have been with the company for 5 years get to take a 3-month, paid sabbatical. It’s an unbelievably awesome perk, and I started mine on July 10. Get over your jealousy and apply already – we’re hiring.
That being said, as someone who spends almost the entirety of every business day working on a web publishing platform – I figured that the best way to escape from work for 3 months would be to blog about it. Here goes something.
A few months back, I remember reading a co-worker’s post about the anxiety of taking an extended leave and thinking “wow, I’m so lucky that I don’t have the personality type to get worked up about things like this.”
I woke up at least 4 nights this week at 3am with some pretty intense anxiety.
Did I forget to do something before I left? Will my team fail their sprint without me? Am I missing big, company-wide decisions? Am I really such a non-integral part of the day-to-day workings of Automattic? Will my job be there in 3 months? Can Takashi or Obenland possibly get through a full day without talking to me?!?
Answers: Most definitely. Nope (I peaked) – awesome job, guys! Probably. Absolutely. Hopefully? Definitely not – losers.
It’s still early, and I assume that most of the jitters will be gone after a week or two, but having worked in some capacity almost every day of my adult life, trust me when I say that there is something legitimately unsettling when faced with the actuality that you’re about to go 3 months without work. It is almost impossible for me to not check my work email in the fogginess of waking up each morning, and I had to delete Slack from my phone to stop myself from looking at it whenever Meredith turned her back.
If I’m coming to terms with my own superficial existence, I might as well get some shit done in the meantime. Last week, Meredith and I sat down and made a pretty epic list of possible things to do to fill the voids of time between waking at noon, hammock napping at 3pm, and drifting to sleep after dinner at 7pm.
The list is full of house projects (like finishing that bathroom renovation from
3 months 6 months ago) and personal projects (New Year’s resolution-style stuff to feel guilty about ignoring in a few weeks), and after looking at it, I feel comfort in knowing that there are plenty of things to fill my time. This past week alone, I painted large chunks of the house, mulched and weeded the flower beds like the very best of retirees, and then spent just about every minute of my remaining free time with Orvis and Meredith (on walks and at the beach), reading (currently A Man Called Ove, next Boys on the Boat), running (more like shuffling my feet and breathing hard), or riding my bike (did I mention that I got a bike?).
I even created a handy “Sabbatical Count” widget in the sidebar (using that fancy new core MCE text widget) to rub all of my accomplishments in your faces (all 4 of you reading this).
The sub-headings are unnecessary – they just scratch my organizational itch and break this really long post into visual chunks… I should try pictures next time.
About the sabbatical? We’ll see how it goes. It’s too late to take it back now, and I think Meredith actually enjoys seeing things getting done around the house – who would’ve guessed? I’ll try to do a weekly update so that Leif and Marek can fill their free time with my literary voice, and maybe by next week I’ll be a completely changed person who has discovered the secret to life and found an inner balance.
Oh, and thank you, Automattic.