One of the most amazing benefits of working at Redgate Software is the ability to take a sabbatical every five years. One of our staff wrote about this recently, and I found myself reflecting back on mine, as well as thinking forward.
The article notes that many people either learn or travel during theirs. That was somewhat of my experience, where I spent my first one learning skills and volunteering at home. My one-year look back is still interesting to revisit today. Unfortunately, my flagpole base failed in strong winds (sad face) and broke the pole. It's still on my list to rebuild a new one. I still look back on my volunteer time with fondness and try to get back to Habitat every year.
My second was avoiding travel, since I'd traveled a lot the year before. I ended up with the last sabbatical before the pandemic, coming back to work as our office closed. I stayed home, worked on learning and projects, though I did take a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate my wife's birthday.
Six weeks away from work seems like a lot. Before Redgate, I'd have thought that this was a huge burden on the employer and fellow employees. However, we've had multiple people on sabbatical and we cope. We pick up the slack, and things continue to run. As with maternity (and paternity) leave, it's not as big a burden as this American used to think.
It is very refreshing, and each time I've felt rejuvenated. I've been ready to get back to work, talking with Redgate customers and speaking at events. To me, this is a great way to encourage retention among loyal employees, as well as a way that can create more diversity of thought among your employees. Where they travel, the things they learn, even the change of pace in their mind often bring them back to work with new perspectives and ideas.
I just crossed my fifteenth year at Redgate, so I'm due for my third sabbatical. I haven't thought about it, and I am not likely to take it this year. This does take some planning, both in my personal life and at work, so I have found I usually need 5-6 months to decide on something and get plans in place.
What will I do this time? I'm not sure. What would you suggest? I am thinking to travel this time for part of the trip. My wife and I had an amazing travel time in 2022, and there are so many amazing places in the world that I'd like to visit. I am also tempted to try and fit in some learning as well, perhaps a week spent in some sort of educational endeavor.
No matter what I decide, I am grateful for the opportunity and look forward to another break that helps my work-life balance.