Well, here we are, after a two-and-a-half month leave of absence I went back to work at ngmoco. It was fun, refreshing, and enlightening to have that much time off.
I did a little bit of traveling. First was about a week in Hawaii. That was the first vacation I’ve taken in my adult life where I didn’t have to worry about going back to work on my return. For the first time in my life I just cut loose and relaxed fully. We did some snorkeling1, chilled on a remote beach, did a little hiking, and saw some awesome volcanic features. The earth giving birth to itself is just awe inspiring.
In the before-times I worked for the House of Mouse. A perk of working there was free tickets to the theme parks. I had a couple of such tickets still sitting around and decided to use them before they expired. That wasn’t the fun part though. Adding an extra day to our trip and going up the California Coast to see Hearst Castle was a great decision. It’s a fascinating building and grounds combined with a rich history and art pieces. The park is fairly out of the way for most SF and LA travelers, but it’s only a day’s drive from either and if you can add the day or two to see it I recommend it.2
Part of this break was to blow the cobwebs out of my head. Well, maybe not cobwebs, but I needed to realign my brain a bit. I think I was pretty successful in that. I got to work on a few of my own personal projects and I not only brushed up on some technologies I hadn’t used in a while but I also learned some new iOS 5 technologies. Part of this was a the pure freedom of just working on what I wanted to. No sprints. No scrums. User stories, yes, but no forced march to appease management or satisfy deadlines you had no hand in creating.3
Doing these projects, even if they never come to fruition, was excellent mental exercise. I’ll keep on them now that I’m back at work and if anything it will help keep me mentally agile. I’m excited for all of them and hopefully I’ll be able to put more time into them soon.
I didn’t know I’d enjoy it this much. I mean, I should have guessed. I love my wife to pieces and what would be better than spending a metric butt-load of time with her? Short answer: nothing. It was great in a way I never would have imagined. Now that I’m back to work I’m having a little separation anxiety. I know I have a great time with the person I chose to spend my life with. Now I need to work on a way to be able to spend more time with her in the future.
One other thing that was great to do was revisit the art of the siesta. Naps are damn important. I’m going to extend this back at work because I damn well work better after a short nap. And I now know I work better in the mornings and after naps.
At the end of my break I was pretty jazzed to be returning to work. I have a great team to be on at ngmoco and we were working on some cool things when I left. Needless to say, a lot changed in my two and half month absence. We’ll have to see how things shake out, but for now, it’s great to be back with my team.
In my time off I was able to reflect on a lot of things. The biggest one I keep coming back to is that my country’s corporate and health care systems are screwed up.4 After working on my own projects for a bit I found that I liked it nearly an order of magnitude more than working for someone else.5 Then it struck me that if we did have single-payer universal health care I likely would be working for myself. Health insurance is the primary reason I’ve returned to work. As Spike Dolomite Ward wrote recently:
If you still have a good job with insurance, that doesn’t mean that you’re better than me, more deserving than me or smarter than me. It just means that you are luckier. And access to healthcare shouldn’t depend on luck.
Ms. Ward has been attacked for her op-ed piece too. Our system sucks and that there is any fight about this is ridiculous. I feel lucky to have insurance but I want it to be better. That, however, is a post for another time.
Got to travel.
Got to relax.
Got to play some great games.
Worked on personal projects.
Got reacquainted with naps for good.
It’s a good list for only two and a half months. Until next time just know I’ll be marching onward. See you down the road.
We drove up from LA, leaving fairly early on a weekday but still hitting major morning traffic, and got two of the tours in before the end of the day. We then stayed overnight in San Simeon and drove back to the Bay Area the next morning. ↩
It is no doubt that schedules are important, but when they’re forced on you and you’re not a partner in creating them there’s failure and disappointment in the future. ↩
Yeah, big surprise, right? ↩
I know, I know. Duh! ↩