One of the countless perks that working at/with Automattic affords me is the incredible opportunity to completely “disconnect”, after every 5 years spent in the company, with a fully-paid 2-3 months sabbatical. See Ryan’s post for a very eloquent exposé on the values of the latter.
Here are 10 things I’ll be doing during my first one, which will officially kick off next Wednesday, July 15th, until October 12th (just writing this seems unreal).
- Turning 40; its mental and biological consequences.
Whether I like it or not, 40 is a hub-year in anyone’s life. I get to ponder about what that means for me.
- My separation.
The latter happened, and is continuing to evolve, in probably the best of ways, but it’s undeniably affected many aspects of my life. Time to sort some things out, with a clear/quiet mind.
- Living by myself for the 1st time.
I met my ex when I was 19, and we moved in together within a year or so, and then came our 3 awesome kids. I have no idea what I’m doing, on my own, really… Or want… Or… And this in all matters, from personal finances, to cooking, to everything else. Good things to reflect upon.
- Aging (gracefully) in my field.
I’m 40, I’ve been in the web business for 21 years, and in an industry where life-long experience isn’t all it’s cracked up to be because of the speed of its evolution (vs, say, 3-5 years), I can’t ignore the fact that there are better and worse ways to approach growing older in our field. How do I want to do that? Doing what? For how long?
- Learn new things, some to upgrade my skills, some I otherwise would normally not.
I’m actually going to put a lot of effort in staying away from programming projects, in the spirit of the leave, despite planning on honing some of my skills. But I primarily want to learn things I normally would not have been inclined, or have time, to. Not entirely sure what that is yet, but I have some ideas, like increasing my financial knowledge, learning how to weld, and so on.
- Experiment with ways to organize/prioritize my time better.
Which will include finding ways to not actually have to make the exercise of time planning itself a major attention sucker.
- Tackle some sizeable projects, but not in my professional realm.
Things like fixing/setting up another Jeep, designing/building some snowboard/bike trails, completing some new or ongoing renovation projects, etc. That point will closely be related to a lot of points #5 and #6.
- Help people in ways I usually couldn’t, or wouldn’t.
I have no specifics in mind yet; time will invariably provide me with opportunities.
- Dream up some new project ideas.
Nothing can ever stop me from doing that, not even sleep, but… Plenty is sure to follow.
- FInd some time to actually do nothing at all.
No explanation necessary on the challenges of this in our modern lives. And I’m one to think that being bored can lead to wonderful thinking. If one only has, or gives oneself, the chance to!
Sure, I know that does look like a full plate. But I’ve always had a large appetite for such things.
We’ll soon see how much of it I get done, or even get to. :D
More on 10 years of Automattic.
On August, 24th, 2009, I posted the following on this very site:
Today is the most beautiful of days. I’m not talking about the weather, but about a feeling that is currently impregnating every single fiber of my professional being. See, today marks the beginning of my trial phase (contractor) as Automattic‘s newest full-time systems wrangler.
I became employee #40-something (of now 259) as of September 21st that year, and in that span, I was part of the following teams (listing employees still with us today):
- Systems, with Barry, Demitrious & Pyry.
- Short stint as the “special projects” guy, before we started being big enough to have teams.
- NUX (WordPress.com signup, new users experience, domains, etc), with Nikolay.
- Janitorial (internal tools), with Andy, Matt, MT, Nick & Rose.
- Triton (WordPress.com UX), with Andy (again), Bob, Greg & Payton.
- Team I/O (APIs & partnerships), with Kat, Kelly, Joey & Justin.
- DotOrg (WordPress core development), with Alex, Andrea, Andrew, Cami, Ian, Jen, Jerry, Konstantin, Mark & Ryan.
There is nothing I would change about the last 5 years. I’ve met incredible people, worked on amazing projects, traveled to fabulous locations, all while trying to democratize publishing, change the way people work, and be the best dad/person I can be.
So thanks to my Automattic family, and here’s to five more years. :)