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Sabbatical Kick-off

Three months ago we had the best plans ever. Wait. Let me go back in time a bit. Last September I hit my five-year mark of being an Automattician — a Happiness Engineer working at Automattic, Inc. The company spoils us rotten. We get a specialized computer with a logo for our fourth year anniversary, and a three month sabbatical every five years. During that time we are cut out of our queues because we are supposed to not work at all and just take a rest. I’m still allowed to blog though 🙂

Chris and I had been dreaming about this for years. We decided to start the sabbatical in April so I could get in a final week of snowboarding without worrying about work schedules. (The slopes average closing April 11 in the east.) Then we would go west and finish off the season with a few more weeks on the slopes out west.

After making these plans, we found out that there was going to be a special meetup for Happiness Engineers in May — in Vienna, Austria. A chance to see so many of my dear friends! And snow was lacking this year so we weren’t sure our slopes would make it April anyway. I talked with HR, and they shuffled my sabbatical so I could kick it off June 1, right after the meetup. So here was our plan:

Today I was going to work, with a cut-off in early afternoon, then head to the airport with Chris where we would fly to London, have a 19-hour layover in London and hopefully spend time with some friends that live there. Then we would journey on to Vienna where I would attend the meetup with my colleagues. After that, we would stay at an Air B&B in Vienna and enjoy life as tourists now that work wasn’t an option for me.

Then, close to weekend, we were going to visit my cousin in Denmark for a bit. Upon returning to NY, we were hoping to go to Long Island to visit relatives and NYC to visit my friend Kelley (and perhaps some more colleagues) before we meandered back to northern NY for a few days with Mom.

By mid-June we were going to drive leisurely to Utah, camping along the way and stopping to see attractions when we wanted to. In Utah, we would be there for Hudi and Mollie’s wedding and stay on a bit after.

Originally at this point we were then going to head to Alaska to see Jen and Mike, but decided to do that another time. Instead we were going to drive back to NY — going the southern route to see Aunt Anne and Uncle John in the mountains.

Once back in the east we were going to relax and do some home repairs such as putting in a wood floor and painting some walls. I’d start work again Sept. 1 and a few weeks later would find myself at the company meetup in Orlando.

Doesn’t that all sound perfect?

It just wasn’t meant to be.

Today I am working, and I will work a four-day/10-hr/day work-week until Thursday (taking my “weekend” days Friday – Sunday) to extend sabbatical a bit. And I feel super fortunate to be able to set my own schedule so I can do that.

Instead of exploring another continent, we will spend the time off locally–going on hikes, painting walls, reading books, learning some code for fun, etc.

I’ve been through all the emotions about this change, but now I’m settling in on pure gratefulness to have a time to simply relax. Most of the plans are not cancelled — just put off. We can still enjoy the experiences in the future.

It’s also helpful that things are starting to gradually re-open. We might even have a working pool and open resort by late June.

Maybe we can even get out to Utah after all if things go well.

So yeah, I’m a bit sad that I won’t be on a plane tonight. But I get to see my friends on Zoom, Lise is part of my dance class online, and I’m in regular communication with all my loved ones. My floor is already done so we can dance in our own home right now. And most importantly – while the wedding is postponed, Hudi’s and Mollie’s love is still there.

All are healthy and thriving. It’s all good.

11 replies on “Sabbatical Kick-off”

Good morning and thanks for this nice article, dear Chrissie. In your mellifluous language, it sounds so perfect. And Vienna, of all places. To sit down in one of those awfully decadent coffeehouses to parsimoniously nibble at a strudel with a lazy fork while you slowly sip a perfectly made latte that fills every one of your pores with a dollop of ecstasy. Heavenly! You will do it later, of course, And in the meantime you can close your eyes and keep dreaming away…Congratulations on your Fifth anniversary at the company? Hey, can you switch off that diabolic hook-up of Slack.com to try to get some sleep, at the very least. Have a wonderful anniversary with your loved, and healthy, family members. A kiss to your Grandma. Please read and comment my latest posting “Suivez le fric” where I discuss the latest developments on the ongoing vaccines projects. May God Almighty provide us with at least one before year’s end.
Un baccione. Arrivederci.

Thanks for the congrats 🙂 And yes, Slack will be off for work. I’ll try to catch up on blogs soon.

Oh dear Chrissie! What a disappointment!! I can just imagine! My daughter didn’t mention it – maybe it just was too painful! 😔 Well I do hope you get to do all those amazing things one day, not too far off in the future!! Meanwhile – relaxing at home isn’t so bad, I gotta tell you. I for one have more stuff to read, websites to explore, blog posts to write, than I ever thought possible! Oh yeah, and going for walks with my lovely John, so nice too!! Take care, I wish you all better days!

Sounds lovely — your walks with John and reading. I already have four books lined up, haha.

So sorry your plans have changed but you have a great positive attitude about it. We cancelled our trip to Seattle for September. The thought of getting on a plane is not appealing at all. 💜

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