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Taking a Sabbatical

By Andy Warren,

Today we have a guest editorial from Andy Warren as Steve is on vacation. 

Sabbaticals are something that we hear about, but a dream that few of us really pursue. The idea of taking time off from work to do something more interesting (or nothing) to recharge is powerful. It’s the funding (the lack of) and the risk of stepping away from our job/career that seems to put it so far out of reach as to be not worth any real effort. Maybe it’s also the lack of the dream, that thing we would do for months if we had the other concerns managed.

I think all of these have been true for me to a degree. I’ve had times when I could have taken the break and didn’t, I just didn’t have that dream, the goal to do it – or perhaps the sense to know it was just time to do it!

Instead, I stumbled into one. In July of last year I was given the chance to do some work that wasn’t about SQL at all and wasn’t directly technical. It was a chance to work in a complex and challenging environment trying to get things done I wasn’t the expert in. It was a chance to grow in new directions, to integrate and test some soft skills I’ve worked on acquiring, and to try to master the art of delegating.

Isn’t that a sabbatical, the chance to do new things and step away from the old ones for a while? The eye opening part for me was understanding that even though it was a job – and a demanding one – it was also a chance to re-energize. I tell my friend Steve Jones that it’s a lot like getting paid to go to school to learn things you want to learn. Better to have stumbled into it than missed out on the experience.

Take a few minutes today to dream about what that break might look like for you. If you had to keep working to fund it, what would you do to grow, to recharge?

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