In May 2020, for the first time in my life, I stopped work with the explicit goal to focus on my home life and personal projects.
Most people call this a sabbatical, so that’s what I’m also calling it.
I currently officially recognise that I’ve got 4ish projects, and a bunch of smaller spin off things that show up.
imo - “in my opinion”
Something that I’m excited about but is a very slow burn is “imo”: https://imo.pietersartain.com/. Eventually, I hope to a) never have to write documentation for another organisation again, and can instead simply reference this and b) cross reference all of the links and resources I’ve gathered, book marked and saved over the decade+ I’ve been working. It gets erratic amounts of my time, but is being chipped away at. The current state is still in infancy, but as I’m tidying up harddrives and setting up servers, I have this always in my mind.
Building an open technical bootcamp
Part of writing up imo and some chance conversations with friends lead me to start thinking about how someone would cross-train as a software developer, predominently technically. I put some time in, and am currently working through the process with a friend to see how they get on and if the programme has any viability. With a fixed time schedule, it’s also really helpful at holding me accountable and moving this forward on weekly basis.
Home life renovation
When you spend most of your time out of your home, it’s easy to ignore all the things (small and large) that need doing. Some of them are physical, such as an unfinished office desk or unsorted shelves, and some of them are more emotional: not dealing with remnants of one’s past, or not having spent sufficient time thinking about the future.
Work is a wonderful distraction from having to confront any of that, so, I removed the excuse.
I’m putting more focus on friends (new and old), and carving out time to spend with them. I’m looking for ways to mix my hobbies in with this, with mixed success currently.
Back to work
I lasted 6 days on my sabbatical without applying for a job, but I’m being quite careful about managing expectations of what I’m capable of handling right now and what is too much. So far everyone I’ve spoken to has understood the sabbatical, and in some cases even admired the step. I hope this continues to be the case.