I’ve had a non-zero number of folks ask what the heck a sabbatical is. It’s such a fixture in my working culture – one that I’ve been a member of for coming up on fifteen years – that I forget some folks might not know what the heck I’m talking about. Plus, I can’t assume that everyone who breezes by here on their way to more interesting Internet destinations has been reading me since September of 2000, which is when I started Snerkology.
So! I am an employee of AcronymCo (name changed so I don’t get Dooced), which is a bigwig in the Semiconductor industry. Specifically, at this moment in time I’m a Senior Buyer, which means I spend AcronymCo’s money with AcronymCo’s permission. Alas, they do not have a contract with Old Navy. Previous titles have been (in reverse order), Shop Floor Controls Engineer, Manufacturing Systems Engineer, Manufacturing Systems Technician, Unit Integrity Coordinator, Project Coordinator, Senior Administrative Assistant, and Purchasing Administrative Assistant (my first job at AcronymCo back in 1994, as a contract employee at the ripe old age of nineteen – I became a full-fledged employee of AcronymCo in 1995).
Every employee of AcronymCo who works at one of their United States locations gets a two-month paid vacation every seven years, in addition to whatever annual vacation they’ve accrued per their tenure. I took my first sabbatical in 2003, and at that time I had three weeks of accrued vacation in addition to my two-month leave. Now, since I’ve been an employee for more than ten years, I get a month of annual vacation. Add that to my sabbatical this year (I hit my fourteen year anniversary in October, and we’re required to take our sabbatical within a calendar year of our anniversary), and I’ll have three total months off during 2010. You can either take it all at once, or take the sabbatical in one chunk and break up the regular vacation throughout the year (which is what I’m doing).
Yeah, this situation has DOES NOT SUCK written all over it.
So, you know how most folks “work for the weekend”? Yeah, AcronymCo employees work for their next sabbatical. It is a common refrain, “Just gotta get to my next sabbatical…” It’s a common conversation, “When are you eligible for sabbatical? Which one is this? First, second, third?” Sabbaticals offer natural transitions between positions, wherein a person leaves one post at the point of their two-month vacation, and comes back to a different position (I, myself, will go right back into my Buyer role in August). Folks at AcronymCo are encouraged to move around within the company. SOME folks make a break for it during their sabbaticals, and find something else to do outside of the company, or retire at that time. Most say they’re going to, and then just end up coming back. It is NOT, after all, a bad company to work for. Not in the least. Not at all. They… just really make you work for your time off.
All in all, I’m very grateful for my career. Especially right now on this, the second official day of my second sabbatical.