I’ve been working since I was about 14 years old. My first job was working for my friend’s mom at one of those Thai Food places at Festivals. During high school, I folded clothes and talked people into buying denim at the Gap. When I got to college I worked a variety of jobs- internship at Raytheon, a grader, and teacher’s assistant (TA) for engineering classes. Once I graduated with a B.S. Electrical Engineering, I got a real paying job in Engineering.
I got into this habit of working really hard, then taking a crazy vacation. Work Hard. Take a Break. Repeat. in 2014, I worked 7 months straight (7 days a week) with a total of 3 days off. My team had an important job to do by a deadline; so everyone worked everyday until we delivered the product. I bonded with all my team mates, but I felt the disappearance of my personal life. What happened? When did life turn into only work? After three long years without a proper vacation, I took 7 weeks off of work to go to my friend’s wedding in Thailand and unwind. It was great. I set goals and told myself I wouldn’t get into the same habit.
In 2015, I felt myself drifting into the same habit. I wanted to be different, but I couldn’t stop dedicating my life to my work. I needed to put the same amount of effort in my personal life as I have been at all my jobs.
Personal Leave of Absence – A Sabbatical
I don’t think any of my managers were happy to let me leave, but they all understood. I have been a “Far Exceeds Expectations” type of gal. But I told the truth and said I wanted a break and needed to pursue my personal life. I met someone while in Thailand back in 2014 and fell in love. I wanted a chance to see what life would be like without the pressures of work.
It’s not easy to leave your life behind. I have a great apartment in Santa Monica. I have a rental townhouse in San Diego. I’ve been a cat mommy for 16 years. I have a car, I’m a hoarder. The list goes on and on.
Here’s what I did…I spent a month de-hoarding and donating all my stuff to salvation army. I vacuum sealed any clothes I would need the next year and boxed up other important documents and stuff that I didn’t want stolen. I filled my garage with boxes of anything personal from my apartment. I called my landlord and told her I needed to leave but would like the chance to come back. Being the nice lady she is, she let me sublet my apartment. That saved me about $200 a month in storage costs. Coincidentally a swimmer friend was looking for a place at the same time so he agreed to sign a sublease with me and my landlord.
Next I spent about 2 weeks searching for someone that would watch my cat, Jade. My close friend in San Diego volunteered her spacious house for Jade. I spent the next two weekends at her house with Jade making sure the cat was ok with her temporary accommodations.
Everything was hard to do, but I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I could see the freedom of doing whatever I wanted. Jade would understand, mommy needed a break. My family would understand. Friends were excited for me. Let’s DO THIS.