Last week I returned to work at Automattic following a paid three month sabbatical. Yep, you heard that right. Everyone at our company is entitled to take a two to three month period off following their five year anniversary (which I hit at the end of November).
It’s an amazing benefit that I must admit I felt a bit guilty about taking. No one in my life has ever experienced or been offered such an opportunity.
At first I felt a bit lost about how to use the time. I’d arranged it to be at the holidays so sure, I had plenty of things on my to do list to keep me busy. But I felt like I should use the time to give back to others in some way because I was so fortunate to have the time. While I did find ways to help others where I could, I never ended up doing substantial volunteering like I thought I might. The time passed quickly due to the holidays, my son staying home sick a few times, work on our house we had planned, and a few small trips.
While I felt guilty about this at first, I realized I accomplished something far more needed at the time.
I put myself first for once.