Sabbatical: My Search for…Something…

As I shook my coworker’s hands and said my goodbyes, I felt sad that I would no longer be involved in their day to day activities. It was my last day as the Director of Project Management, as well as my last day as an employee. I couldn’t help but want to take them along with me on my journey. I doubt many of them would join me though. Why? Well, because I’m not going to another job. I am leaving and not planning on working for a couple of months. That’s right, I am leaving a stable, fun, and well-paying job in exchange for a couple of months off; a Sabbatical.

Many of them couldn’t understand why. Others expressed some form of envy, and a few even thought I was out of my fucking mind. I know what you’re thinking, “Hell yes you’re crazy!”

Yet, to me it makes perfect sense. I have been slaving away nonstop for years with only a week’s worth of vacation taken. And it isn’t about the lack of time off that is my complaint. It’s about all the things that I really can’t get to with that little slice of time off because I’m always looking back at the job I have and getting in gear for my return. The return to fires needing to be put out, emails to answer, people to interact, meetings to facilitate….the list goes on. How could I possibly relax and disconnect I only a week or two?

Then, there are those times when I’d work in my home office, and I would look over the hundreds of books that I have on shelves. A BA in English, MBA, and all the Technology self-study textbooks I have had to acquire over my career have provided me with a glimpse of what I would be like as a hoarder.

The sheer volumes of books I’ve amassed would send shivers down most tree-hugger’s environmentalist’s spines. This doesn’t include the stacks of eBooks either. Some books I have read, some I’ve abandoned half-way through, and others still remain untouched. I’d occasionally glance over and fantasize about pouring over them to inhale all the information they could offer.

I consistently stress over the deterioration of my cognitive abilities due to lack of mental exercise and a strange gut feeling that I’m getting older (yet to be proven…I digress). Yes, I have developed a highly adept couch potato for a brain….

I also have been just as inattentive when it comes to my physical conditioning. Yep, I’ve let myself become, as we use to call them in the Marines, a fat-body. Yes, the last couple of years of pulling mad hours and endless stretches of couch-surfing, have taken what used to be a nice chiseled physique, and turned it into a huge lump of chewed-up bubble gum.

I haven’t had the energies or self-discipline to get my ass off the chair and get to sweatin’ to drop the pounds that I need (kilos for my international brethren)! Again, I can’t seem to shake this sneaky suspicion that somehow there is something that keeps making me age. I’ve spoken to my doctor about this, and all he’s told me is to stop wasting time and get on a fitness program before I get a heart attack….then he usually tells me to get out. I guess all quacks are rude. I guess I’ll just take the higher road.

Despite all these reasons I’ve mentioned so far, the one that really seems to have made the case for me to quit my job and dedicate a few months to personal pursuits, is the need to breathe some life into my career.

How? Well, in my mind it begins with some serious introspection into what it is that I am really looking for in a career. Is it a certain role or position? Could it be that desire to own my own business? Whatever it is for me, I couldn’t tell you. If I knew, then I wouldn’t need the Sabbatical — duh!

The manner that I am approaching my journey is through getting involved with the community of individuals out there and interacting. Seeing what drives people, what they do, and where they want to go. Yes, networking. An Introvert’s worst nightmare — meeting and interacting with people. Good thing I’m not shy is all I can say.

Through volunteer work aimed at helping the community, I can honestly say I have given something back to this world to try to make it a better place. I also am looking to volunteer my professional services in an effort to become involved in the vision and mission of other organizations without having to be tied to just that organization. My ultimate goal may potentially be to get involved as a board member, but we’ll walk before we run, right?

So, to go back to when I was bidding my farewells to my esteemed coworkers, I can honestly say that I felt the same excitement I would experience as a child just before an adventurous roadtrip.

I’m looking forward to the fun, pain, disappointment, and hopefully successes that I expect. You can’t get the returns on investment, if you don’t take the risks.