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Posted Thursday, June 30, 2011 9:03 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Sabbaticals






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Post #1134807
Posted Friday, July 01, 2011 7:15 AM
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No, and I don't know anyone who works for a company that does.
Where do I sign up?
Post #1135012
Posted Friday, July 01, 2011 7:35 AM


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I have heard about these places that offer these so called 'sabaticals' but in my entire career I've never worked for one. If these things are real they exist only perhaps in silicon valley or government organizations.

Personally, I'd rather have a more liberal & flexible vacation policy because if you work hard and consistantl meet schedules you deserve some recovery time, especially in this business.




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Post #1135022
Posted Friday, July 01, 2011 7:35 AM
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I'd be happy to take one or two weeks per year at peace. I think you've got to be incredibly lucky to be a production dba and get that amount of time off...as the somewhat cynical quote goes 'if they can get by that long without you they don't probably need you', have no desire of proving that! US is a workaholic culture, unless you run your own shop such benefits are pretty tough to come by.
Post #1135023
Posted Friday, July 01, 2011 8:33 AM
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I got a "sabbatical" by enlisting in the Army Reserves a few years ago...got six months off for basic training and AIT, came back to work for a while, then got 14 months off to go to Iraq, and have been back since. It was an unpaid sabbatical, of course, but it was still an extended absence that brought a number of benefits:

- I'm a better programmer after my Army experience: more disciplined, more organized, with much more attention to detail

- I certainly came back recharged, ready to work, looking forward to my office job as a change from Army life

- Before I left, I was really forced to clear the decks of my outstanding projects. All those loose ends that accrue? All those manual processes that you meant to automate? Those annoying bugs you just work around? All those scripts you meant to document? That all went from "some day" to absolutely having to get done.

- When I came back, it was to a completely clean plate. Plus, with years of experience at the company, it was as though they got a new hire who didn't have a multi-month learning curve - my boss had a valuable asset with 100% free bandwidth to apply anywhere.


There are definitely downsides - obviously, the company lost 20+ months of productivity. I fell behind in some technologies, as well as some business developments. And my attention span still isn't back to what it used to be - I used to be able to work, head-down/nose-to-the-grindstone, for hour after hour; when I got back, it was more like a 20-minute burst, then distraction, then a 20 minute burst, then distraction...still, I think it's been a net positive for the company, and certainly for me.
Post #1135067
Posted Friday, July 01, 2011 9:16 AM
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No, I have never worked for an organization that offered sabbaticals. I have heard of them most often in academia, where professors take a sabbatical to either write a book, or take a job in industry, etc. which gives them an excellent opportunity to gain "real-world" experience for the practical application of what they teach.

I DO think there is a big difference between a sabbatical and a long vacation, or some long-duration unpaid leave (like for family reasons). If I were in management at a company, I would be more likely to grant sabbaticals if I knew that they would be used to grow the employee's experience/skills, etc.

If I were an employee, I would not want to abuse the privilege by just using that time as a vacation.
Post #1135119
Posted Friday, July 01, 2011 9:25 AM


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I got sabbatical to learn Azure. I suspect this would not happen in today's depressed economy.
Post #1135127
Posted Friday, July 01, 2011 9:32 AM
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reh (7/1/2011)
I got a "sabbatical" by enlisting in the Army Reserves a few years ago...got six months off for basic training and AIT, came back to work for a while, then got 14 months off to go to Iraq, and have been back since.


reh - It takes guts to put your life on hold to enlist in the Army Reserve. Hats off and a big "Thank you" to all those who do!
Post #1135133
Posted Friday, July 01, 2011 10:04 AM


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No, our company does not offer sabaticals.

If it did, I would expect that the time away would be spent doing something related to my job that I couldn't do during the regular course of the work week; learning a new programming language, attending seminars, experimenting with database concepts not used at work by volunteering for projects were these concepts could be applied (does Habitat need database work?).

I wouldn't want to confuse sabatical, which is time away, with vacation, which is time off.
Post #1135167
Posted Friday, July 01, 2011 10:06 AM
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reh (7/1/2011)

... when I got back, it was more like a 20-minute burst, then distraction, then a 20 minute burst, then distraction...


Huh. My company thinks that's "productivity"!

Seriously, though, while I have never had a sabbatical, I did take a full four weeks consecutive off back in 2005. Rode to Alaska by motorcycle with my sweetie, up the Dalton Highway to Prudhoe Bay. No cell service for long stretches, none at all on the North Slope, plus you can't answer a cell phone while riding a motorcycle! (unless you put in the wiring, which no way would I do) The only schedule was the day we left, the day we caught the ferry, and the day we had to be home, plus one "work stop" in Anchorage to visit a branch office and have lunch with the manager. I "had" to do the work stop because I only had one week to train my backup, even though I had planned this trip a year in advance, and notified my company! (That's just plain foolish.)

And I came back completely recharged and ready to take on the world. How do you put a value on excitement, new ideas, energy? That's a flaw in the regular business world, IMHO.

I think the business gets a lot of value for a sabbatical.

- They have to plan ahead for you to be gone
- They find out what you really do, and can evaluate it in your absence
- They get an employee back with a different mindset and attitude (generally hugely positive!)
- They have an opportunity to show respect for your work, your skills, and your dedication (= retention policy)
- Depending on the sabbatical, they get back a more skilled employee (could be soft or hard skills)

I think more businesses should consider sabbaticals as part of their compensation package.
And I think more employees should ask for them.

If I could get a sabbatical, I'd consider one of the following to do in that time (note: I work in the insurance industry as a developer / business analyst / project manager).

- Visit several providers (hospitals, clinics) to find out how they utilize our website and determine improvements we could make to service them better. (Hey, my mom was a registered nurse, OK?)
- Set up a home server utilizing SQL Server or MySQL and learn more DBA-oriented tasks
- Build a website from scratch using different tools than we have at work (for comparative purposes)
- take some Agile training courses (full disclosure: I LOVE Agile; currently a Certified Scrummaster)
- Spend at least one hour each day taking photos (gotta do something different, to recharge!)



Here there be dragons...,

Steph Brown
Post #1135168
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