My Subconscious is on Sabbatical

I recently filled out a PTO request at work, but accidentally asked for 5 weeks off instead of 5 days.

My boss got a good laugh out of that, and I did, too. Until I started thinking about how wonderful five weeks off would be, and then I was like, wait a minute…why are we laughing?!

This reminded me of how my former father-in-law used to get these months-long “sabbaticals” from his job. “We’ll pay you not to come to work for the next three months,” they’d tell him. What a sweet deal, huh? He used the time off to travel, work on projects around the house, etc. I love my job – don’t get me wrong – but damn, what I’d give to be able to take five weeks off for real. I shouldn’t complain; after all, I did have a 618-day sabbatical of my own a few years ago, but that was without pay, which dampened my enthusiasm ever so slightly. Sure, I didn’t have to get dressed until noon, but I ended up wiping out my 401K. In the Dances With Wolves parlance, that is “not a good trade.”

DWWGoodTrade

But if I could keep the paycheck and still get the time off? That’d be okay with me. I’d love to take another road trip, with an endpoint a little farther than Dayton this time around. Actually, Tara and I have talked about buying an RV and traveling all over the country when we’re old and retired, which sounds great to me. Only problem: I’m going to have eight years to kill before she turns old enough to join me in retirement. I’ll have to take up a hobby, like whittling. Or making sweaters for penguins.

Speaking of work (technically I was speaking of not working, but close enough), I had an awkward encounter today with one of our new hires. It was awkward because she clearly had me confused with somebody else, but I’m not even sure who.

“Thanks for the help with {insert member name}!” she said brightly when we bumped into each other in the kitchen.

“Of course!” I replied “Glad to help.”

Now, I didn’t specifically remember helping her with {insert member name}, but I work on stuff for a lot of different people every day, and figured I must have helped her somehow.

“I’m still having technical issues with the workflow algorithm,” she continued. “Is it supposed to auto-populate the address fields?”

Umm. Err. WTF?!

By now, I realized she thought I was somebody else entirely. Somebody in the web or IT department. I should have bailed out gracefully, but then I’d have looked stupid for taking credit for helping her earlier, so in order to save face I continued to play along. Only I don’t know a damn thing about which fields are supposed to auto-populate and, in fact, didn’t understand one damn thing she had just asked, so my blurted-out answer – “I am not aware of any limitations pertaining to that particular program” – made me sound like the world’s stupidest IT guy.

Which means, in an effort to not look dumb, I ended up looking dumber than if I’d just corrected her the moment I realized she thought I was somebody else.

I did save it with an “I’ll look into that and get back to you!”, only I can’t really do that because I don’t even know what I’m looking into in the first place.

Work is so damn complicated these days. I could really use a week or five off…

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11 thoughts on “My Subconscious is on Sabbatical

  1. “what I’d give to be able to take five weeks off for real.”

    Mark, I know what you mean because that’s one of the things I loved and miss about my last job that I had for 10 years. I would get anywhere from 4-6 weeks off in a row, twice a year. And the company I worked for would grant me unemployment during that time off, so I could claim and get paid!

    However, with my current job I get paid vacation days, holidays, sick days, and personal days off, which I didn’t get with my last job. So I guess it all balances out.

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    1. I’d be happy with 4-6 weeks off once a year! Sounds like your newest job is right up your alley and generous with the benefits, too. Really, that’s all we can ask for when it comes to work.

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  2. I’ve heard that Europeans get a ton of PTO, and they take it seriously. My spouse gets plenty of vacation days because he’s been at same company for over 20 years, but he never takes it all because he just needs to put in more hours to get the work done when he gets back. Vacation time is basically a joke.

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    1. I’ve heard the same thing! In fact, I have friends who moved to Germany a couple of years ago, and I know for a fact he gets tons of time off every year. PAID time off. We need to borrow a page from our European brethren!

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  3. I would love a paid sabbatical to travel the world. And yes, I would also pick some place a little further than Dayton, OH. ;) Maybe Argentina. Machu Picchu must be nice this time of year.

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    1. When I think of Argentina, I think of beef and Nazis. Thanks to a Sandra Bullock movie from many years ago, and an ex-wife’s zeal for watching said movie repeatedly.

      I agree with you, though. Machu Picchu would be a pretty cool destination!

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  4. I remember that, you know that time off thing. Now that I am going back to contracting if I take time off it is either because I have enough money in the bank to pay myself or because I can’t find my next contract. I am petrified.

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    1. I don’t blame you. When I was trying to subsist solely on my freelance efforts, I walked around in a perpetual state of fear myself. I’ll take the steady paycheck over the unpaid sabbatical anytime.

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      1. Well having done both Mark, I can only hope going back to contracting will pay off in stress free. I think I will take the stress free over the stress and figure out the rest.

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