I have been with my most recent employer for seven and a half years. When I started, my kids were 11 and 13 years old, they are now 19 and 21. It has been a life-time in many ways.
On this sunny Tuesday morning in Northern California, I find myself on week two of what I can best describe as a sabbatical. I'm not returning to the company, but will spend several months rejuvinating, learning, experimenting, and figuring out what the next step in this life's journey will look like. I won't go into all of the reasons for this decision. Sometimes you just know when you need to make a change and fortunately (VERY fortunately), I was in a position to stop what I was doing without exatly knowing from where my next paycheck would be coming.
And thus begins my ultimate opportunity for reflection, experimentation and development in whatever way I choose. What a gift.
I now very much see the benefit of such an opportunity for folks while they remain with the same employer. Sabbaticals always sounded like a good idea. An extended vacation of sorts. But now I see the true value from a professional and personal development perspective. It's not a vacation. It is a time to do something that feeds you, brings you energy, and makes you better able to tackle whatever else is next.
Learn a language, take a class, travel, write, whatever it is that you've been wanting to do that will in the end, bring your passion and energy back to your work.
What's on deck for me? Here is my preliminary list:
- Learn French (traveling to France in September)
- Paint/Art (taking a few, short on-line and real-time classes)
- Take a "creative non-fiction" writing class (on-line)
- Go to the gym 5 days a week
Once I have a couple of months of these and other similar activities, I should be ready to go. A new job? A consulting practice? Or maybe I'll write a book....the posibilities are endless.
What would you do with such an opportunity?