On Sabbatical (almost)

I’ve announced this to my team at work so I can now announce this here. I’ve decided to resign from Cisco, and I’ll be leaving the firm in late February.

I am not taking a new job, at least not for the foreseeable future. I really like my job and team, but starting in December I started talking to my doctor about weight loss surgery and other options as I’ve been feeling more and more that I have to either get the weight or suffer increasingly serious health issues. My discussion and research on the surgery just re-affirmed to me that it wasn’t an option I wanted to explore, but that caused me to start thinking through “if not that, then how?”

What I’ve decided is to make my weight and the lifestyle changes necessary to solve this my job. I’m going on sabbatical for a few months to focus on me and the changes I have to make, especially in terms of improving my conditioning and getting myself more active and on a regular exercise program.

It’s a weird feeling to know that soon I won’t have a job to go to, because I took my first job when I was twelve, and I’ve never been unemployed longer than six weeks since. This is breaking a rather deeply engrained habit, and it’s a little scary at my age to assume there’ll be a job for me to take when I do decide it’s time to go back to work, but all indications I’ve gotten is that what I do is in demand (I had another recruiter hit me up today, in fact).

The plans are intentionally nebulous; I’m currently thinking this break will go for about six months and I’ll start looking for a new gig around Labor Day, but that’s subject to change.

I may go back to Cisco after this, if things work out; we consciously left things with no committments on either side; if I’d tried to take leave it would have prevented them from backfilling and they really can’t afford to be down a person for too long; on my side, I’d like to go back but I may change my mind, either to the “what to do” or the “when to go back” piece. To be fair to them, I chose to resign and leave them free to move on and we’ll stay in touch and see what happens.

Or I may not. Someone may drop a dream job in my lap I can’t resist, or I might decide to go in a different direction — I’ve long wanted to put some time in helping one of the non-profits I support in some way or joining an NGO where my skills could be helpful, or perhaps I’ll look to go back to work part time, or on a freelance basis. I have no idea how I’ll feel in a few months, other than I still feel pretty strongly that I want to go back to work down the road in some manner. I may, once I settle into this new routine, start looking for writing or other opportunities. I don’t know. That’s both the fun and scary aspect of all of this.

What I do know is that I’ve created a plan that should move me towards much better fitness and through that hopefully reduced weight, and get me outside a lot more and walking around the birding areas around here. Will this work? I think so. We’ll find out. If not, that’s another indicator that I’ll need to reconsider surgery. Since that’s something I want to avoid, I have motivation to make this work.

Could I do this while still working? Well, evidence shows the answer is no, but it’s more nuanced than that. I was making good progress last spring, in fact — and then Mom died, and that pretty much whacked everything in the kneecaps for a while. So the evidence seems to say I can in fact do it, if there aren’t too many other things stressing me out or demanding my time and attention.

I’m going to take this opportunity to do some other things, too; more writing — and I’m digging into Swift and I’m going to write and (hopefully) publish an app I’ve wanted to write for a long time as a way to get myself back into coding. also time to get serious about my Python again, it’s rusted into disrepair.

And get out more, and see people. I’ve gotten too virtual, time to get more real again. I’m starting by going to the Yosemite Conference in March, put on by the Cocoaconf — a few days in Yosemite getting back into the Mac/IOS programming world with people I’ve long known but haven’t seen in forever seems a great way to reboot.

I’ll probably do a couple of other trips; I’m looking at doing a visit through various parks and refuges up to Port Angeles in June, hopefully stopping by Seattle and Portland along the way, along with Crater Lake, Malheur (if it’s open) and some other northwest birding locations on my list. And Laurie and I are starting to plan a trip to Yellowstone near Labor Day together and get back to that place again.

And so now it’s time to strike out down a new path and see what happens…