Recharging, Reconnecting

Generous sabbaticals help Adobe employees find time for what’s most important in their lives

What would you do with a solid month—or more—of paid vacation? You might do something wild like climb Mt. Kilimanjaro or dive with sharks in Cape Town. Or, if you’re like these Adobe employees, you’ll pack your precious sabbatical time with personal meaning—and return with a new perspective on life.

Craig S.
Senior user researcher in San Francisco

How he spent his sabbatical
On a trip to Switzerland to reconnect with his ancestral homeland

Craig S. took his sabbatical planning very seriously. Should he plan his dream house? Volunteer? Learn some new skills? He had never even taken a break between jobs or college degrees, and now he had to figure out how to spend a rare five-week vacation doing anything at all? It was a little overwhelming.

So Craig spent several weeks exploring the possibilities, culminating in a Friday when he and his wife took a day off, headed to a local café with a stack of books, and talked through the possibilities. At the end of the brainstorm, he knew what he wanted: a trip to Switzerland to connect with his roots.

“My sense of identity was usually strongest on the Swiss side, so I decided it was time to take my first trip there to see firsthand what the culture was like,” Craig says. “I wanted to see some of the towns that my relatives had come from.”

The trip wouldn’t be only for him; his wife would join, along with their 8-year-old daughter.

You can’t measure the value that Adobe has provided to an employee with a sabbatical like this. You can give an employee what seems to be an equivalent bonus or salary, but giving this time—saying ‘this is your time, your job is assured, take this time and do whatever you want with it’—is priceless.

“When she was born, she used to sleep a lot. But then we noticed each and every change as it developed, and I wanted to be there,” Sandip says. “From the moment she started looking into my eyes, smiling at me, understanding that I was talking to her—I could have missed those times and my wife would have just told me about them when I got home from work. But this way, I could be a part of it.”

Sandip saved the last week of his sabbatical to travel back home and spend a few days as a nuclear family, bonding and readjusting to daily life. And in the end, he decided that having this time with his new family was better than any other adventure he could have planned.

Jamie R.
Purchasing specialist in Lehi, Utah

How she spent her sabbatical
In Lehi helping to plan her daughter’s wedding

When Jamie R. earned a sabbatical in 2012, she didn’t take it right away. She knew what she wanted to save it for: her daughter’s wedding.

It might seem an unusual choice for a time that many people spend on rest and relaxation. After all, no matter how happy the occasion of a wedding might be, the planning of it tends to be a crush of stress.

But Jamie says that was exactly her reasoning.

Exploring different places, all in different economic stages of development and with different lifestyles, gave me great insight and made me think about things I might not be thinking about day to day.

He started his trip in Myanmar, where he visited a former homestay guest and saw some of the progress made at a local school that he and his friends have helped to support since 2002. He hiked the mountains near Lake Inle and saw local agriculture in action, including the lake’s floating gardens of fruits and vegetables. Then he reunited with friends in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, and Singapore, getting a local’s experience of the best restaurants and of family cooking at home.

“When you experience the differences in daily life—foods, customs, and anything related to lifestyle—you start to question everything that those things mean,” Shigehiro says. “By going through those questions and conversations, you gain a greater appreciation for all different cultures.”

After a quick stop at Adobe Singapore to say hello to his colleagues, Shigehiro headed back to Tokyo refreshed.

“I am thankful for the company for giving me an opportunity to make a small dream come true.”  

Adobe Sabbaticals

5 years of service = 4 weeks of sabbatical
10 years of service = 5 weeks of sabbatical
15 years of service (and every 5 years after) = 6 weeks of sabbatical
Available to employees in the U.S., Canada, Japan, and India

Not many companies offer sabbaticals these days. Paying employees to take extended vacations seems to contradict the way many organizations expect their employees to work: faster and for longer hours.

But Adobe sees the world a little differently, understanding that well-balanced employees are happy employees—and happy employees stay at the company to do more innovative work. Here’s how sabbaticals work at Adobe: