If you believe the definition of sabbatical—“an extended period of leave from one’s work, primarily for rest”—then you might think these Adobe employees are doing it all wrong. They used their sabbaticals as an opportunity to view the world from a new perspective and change themselves for good.
Arjun S. & Sakshi S.
Anybody who has ever seen The Lord of the Rings movies can’t resist being taken in by the scenery of New Zealand. Rolling green hills, lakes nestled amid white-capped mountains—it was enough to pique the interest of Arjun S. and Sakshi S., a married couple in Adobe’s Noida, India, office.
“The moment we started researching it, we realized this is something we have to do,” says Arjun, a senior computer scientist at Adobe.
They knew they couldn’t take a small vacation and expect to come back refreshed. It was go big or go home. “Normally you’d have a vacation where you’re just unwinding and then you suddenly have to go back. You never get to put your feet up,” says Sakshi, an engineering manager. “With a sabbatical, you can.” So they packed their trip with every adventure they could: scuba diving, skydiving, sea kayaking, caving, swimming with dolphins, and hiking on a volcano.
Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Vietnam, Hawaii
Ilene M. is a senior compensation analyst in Adobe’s San Francisco, California office. For her first sabbatical, she spent four weeks traveling throughout Colombia and then went to Cuzco, Peru, to hike the Inca Trail. Her route culminated in Machu Picchu. Seeing it while on sabbatical, she could lose herself in the experience. “This was literally the first time as an adult that I had just stopped and not done anything work- or school-related. I came back thinking, wow—that was incredible. And I was getting paid.”
Ilene combined her second sabbatical with vacation time for a total of eight weeks in Argentina, Vietnam, and Maui, Hawaii. Ilene says her travels have helped shift her perspective, which could be summed up this way: Less stuff, more experiences. “What’s become more important to me is saving money to travel and explore how other parts of the world live,” Ilene says. “My sabbatical experiences have changed my values.”
The kitchen table
When Fedja’s wife was pregnant with their second son, he decided it would be a good time to take his sabbatical. He combined it with Adobe’s paternity leave and spent more than six weeks at home when Dylan was born.
“Dylan didn’t give me a huge window of opportunity, but at night when everyone was asleep, I went through all of these resources from Adobe and educated myself on the creative aspects of the products we have,” Fedja says. Fedja is a product solutions developer. Spending time playing with Adobe’s creative products, like Photoshop and Adobe Premiere Pro, was a way to challenge his mind and do things he doesn’t get to do every day.
“All you need is a table and headphones and a quiet spot. Adobe provides the rest.” When he came back to work, he used his new skills to help drive the production of Inside Adobe TV. It’s something he wouldn’t have known how to do without the enrichment that his sabbatical afforded.
“On sabbatical, I was encouraged to disconnect totally,” he says. “We work in a fast-paced environment, and I was gone for so long that it allowed me to step back and pick up skills in drawing and painting and video and things I had never experienced.”