The Sabbatical is official!

Couple weeks ago, I’ve decided to share the Sabbatical plans with my employer.

That’s a significant milestone, and I have to admit I was dreading the moment, not sure what to expect. I had mixed feelings, knowing that if I am to ask for a leave of absence approval, I have to give my notice early enough to allow for a smooth transition. Waiting till the last moment would most likely cause more grief and hard feelings, making the Sabbatical scenario much less probable. On the other hand, keeping everyone in the dark felt so much safer and convenient. If anything was about to go wrong or we had a sudden change of hart, I wouldn’t have to back out with tail between my legs. I wrote the notice and suddenly everything changed.

To my surprise, both of my bosses turned out to be very supportive and their responses to my e-mail were prompt and felt really genuine. As a result, the head of human resources prepared a letter, in which the company commits to offer me a similar position upon our return from this mini-retirement. In reality, because of our soon to be re-acquired mobility, professional experience (self confidence?) and functional flexibility, I feel that finding an equivalent job will not be extremely difficult, but having this kind of “guarantee” helps ease the anxiety.

Even though I disclosed our plans only to few friends, family and handful of co-workers, the news spread out like wildfire. Some people were thrilled with the idea and admired our courage. Others shook their heads in disbelief, mostly behind my back. However, I’m not sure if any of them truly understood what we were about to do. Apparently, for most people the idea of voluntary unemployment is beyond comprehension, which leads to only one logical conclusion – we must be nuts. And I’m not about to argue that statement, for I’m convinced it’s true. But, if only a little, there is some reason to this madness.

So what is it exactly that we’re doing?

Most people see it as really long vacations, which to a certain extent is accurate. However, there is so much more to it. It starts with the sudden realization that unless the Buddhists are right, we’re not about to have another appearance here. Even if they are right, chances are our next reincarnation will be a bullfrog, horsefly or a skunk if we’re lucky. Obviously, if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m going through a mid life crisis. Most normal people grind their teeth and keep pushing through. Nuts, on the other hand, come up with real crazy ideas, talk their normal spouses into them and then try to implement. Such is my story.

When I was younger and (just a bit) more naïve, I’ve been told that we get to choose what we want to do in life. I still believe that today. For quite some time – about 14 years or so – I’ve been convinced that my passion is crunching numbers and producing business presentations. Only recently, I’ve realized it’s nothing more then a lousy excuse for living a fat ass life! Unfortunately, I still don’t know what it is exactly that I’d like to be doing in life. Since I couldn’t figure it out in those 14 years, I concluded that I’m either not smart enough or my brain languishes in current environment. I’m too proud to admit the former, so I decided to change the later.

I’ve been flirting with the idea of changing employers, but decided against it. What are the chances of landing a dream job without knowing what it actually is? Instead, I want to take time to contemplate my passion. I know, it still sounds like a cheesy excuse for ditching work. Oh, well…

Think what you want, but I’ve managed to convince my wife to this crazy idea and in about five weeks, we’re about to start our extended vacation, eh… I mean pursuit of freedom, passion and happiness. Since we can’t really afford to do it at home, we will rent our house out and live for a year on the road, traveling around USA, Mexico and Central America.

We will sleep longer, walk slower and just enjoy the day…

 

20 Replies to “The Sabbatical is official!”

  1. Love it, Love it, Love it……you go!!! We get one chance at this life so you have to do what you feel is best. As a friend I will support you all the way. Keep in touch Love your courage!!!!!! 🙂

  2. Robert,
    Your courage and free spirit is admirable …
    I am sure you are about to embark onto a memorable time of your life.
    Keep in touch!
    Kelvin

  3. Wow! Congratulations Robert.
    I can attest to how a few months break can renew your mind, body and spirit. I am sure by the end of your journey you will be energized, eager to interact with your co-workers and able to take on the various challenges with a refreshed mind and spirit.
    May your travels be safe, educational and invigorating for you and your family.

    My best to you and your family.

  4. My website guy is leaving?!! What will I do? Who will I bother? I’m sure I will find someone. 🙂

    You will have the time of your life. When you find the answer to what do you want to be when you grow up, let me know. My mid-life crisis had me change careers to picking up dog poop. Your crisis sounds so much better!

    Keep in touch.

  5. Hello Robert,
     
    It was a surprise for me to receive your email this morning. After checking, I understood we had the same boss. Then I clicked on the link to your blog due to my curiosity.
     
    I was really impressed by your stories and could help reading most of them. I became one of your fans. I admire your courage for this decision. As you said, lots of people are willing to do it, but they do not or cannot because ….
     
    Just for your information, I am Chinese and living/working in Paris. I dream I can do something similar in the future. But I think the chance will be thin. Anyway, I will follow your journey which will surely inspire me in life.
     
    Finally, I want to say “thank you for your mail, pleasure to know you “ “good luck and take care”.
     

    Maohua

  6. Hey Maohua, funny to see you here 🙂
    As you might remember a sabbatical is how I ended up in Sydney, it can be done! Especially from France where labour laws support you – 6 years of professional experience and 3 years with your current employer entitle you to a sabbatical of 11 months max, with the guarantee to get a similar level job afterwards.  
    The most difficult step is to make the decision – bonuses, holidays, RTT, 13th month, interessement and “compte epargne-temps” help a lot with the funding as well as you get them all when you take your sabbatical.

    Honestly it was the best decision of my life.

  7. Sometimes I wish I was French… OK, only sometimes and most of the time French wine is at fault…;-) But seriously speaking, usually there is no much support from the Company side either in Poland or in the USA. I consider myself very lucky to be granted a “guarantee” of re-hiring…;-)

  8. Hi Maohua!

    I appreciate your kind words and I promise to update the blog as often as possible to not only share our adventures, but also to give testimony that a trip like that can be done with very little funding and a bit of determination…

  9. Hi Maohua!

    I appreciate your kind words and I promise to update the blog as often as possible to not only share our adventures, but also to give testimony that a trip like that can be done with very little funding and a bit of determination…

  10. I’m pretty sure you’ll find a way to bug me anywhere in the World…;-) Seriously, I hope to have some more time and be able to work on the web development business some more…;-)

  11. I’m pretty sure you’ll find a way to bug me anywhere in the World…;-) Seriously, I hope to have some more time and be able to work on the web development business some more…;-)

  12. Sometimes I wish I was French… OK, only sometimes and most of the time French wine is at fault…;-) But seriously speaking, usually there is no much support from the Company side either in Poland or in the USA. I consider myself very lucky to be granted a “guarantee” of re-hiring…;-)

  13. Hi Maohua!

    I appreciate your kind words and I promise to update the blog as often as possible to not only share our adventures, but also to give testimony that a trip like that can be done with very little funding and a bit of determination…

  14. I’m pretty sure you’ll find a way to bug me anywhere in the World…;-) Seriously, I hope to have some more time and be able to work on the web development business some more…;-)

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