January 16, 2012

Recharging my spiritual batteries

I am a lucky, lucky man.

I’m blessed with a wonderful wife, amazing kids, and a great job. For the last 12 years I’ve somehow gotten paid to spend time with terrifically bright people (customers & colleagues), helping to build the tools I love.

I’m ashamed, though, that I don’t appreciate these things the way I should. Too often over the last few years, I’ve been fried or worse. How can I change that?

Adobe wisely encourages employees to take a sabbatical* every five years. I’ve decided to take a belated one starting today, and on Friday I’m heading to Guatemala to do a couple weeks of service work** through Cross-Cultural Solutions.  I have no delusions about saving the world myself, much less in two weeks.  If I can improve my perspective, though, making myself more grateful and perceptive, I’ll count this time as a great success.

I’m still figuring out just how active I’ll keep the blog in my absence.  I have this crazy fear of/aversion to the prospect of letting people down, of wasting your time by failing to keep content flowing. (I mean, what sane, balanced person would stoke this damn fire every day? ;-)) Maybe that’s part of the perspective I need to gain: the world won’t end without me or my blog. Still, though, I have a big backlog I can queue up…

I’ll ping you with a few travel photography ideas and questions over the next few days–then hit the trail.

Incidentally, I happened upon this quotation today (via Wordsmith) and found it appropriate:

I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs. -Frederick Douglass, Former slave, abolitionist, editor, and orator (1817-1895)

 

*Sabbatical length depends on length of service; the longer you’ve worked here, the longer the time off. My current “10 year” one runs for five weeks.

**These things aren’t cheap, and I thought about soliciting donations to support my trip. Truth is, though, many people and causes need help much more urgently. If the spirit moves you, please consider supporting CCS so that another person can volunteer, or support another worthwhile NGO (Doctors Without Borders being my favorite). Thanks!


Posted by John Nack at 11:26 AM on January 16, 2012

Comments

  • Jeff Phillips — 12:05 PM on January 16, 2012

    Take some time off brother – we’ll still be here when you get back. We need you frosty…

  • Simon Brown — 12:23 PM on January 16, 2012

    Good for you, John, I’m sure you’ll come back far more enriched than you can imagine. And Adobe will still be there. :-)

  • MarVeena — 12:45 PM on January 16, 2012

    Take the time it takes! Every once in a while we need a different perspective to view things from.
    I am tickled to hear you are going to be of service there. Will be looking forward to posts when you get back.
    Bright Blessings on your spiritual journey!
    MarVeena

  • Terri Stone — 1:21 PM on January 16, 2012

    We like you all the more for being human and wanting to recharge your batteries. I hope you forget about your blog entirely.

  • Ivan from A&A Mold Inspections — 1:31 PM on January 16, 2012

    Definitely a good reminder to be grateful and have the right perspective. Great to hear that Adobe affords employees sabbaticals. That is excellent!

  • Lakata — 2:27 PM on January 16, 2012

    so adobe does not support your trip.. your a manager and you think about asking others to support you in something you WANT to do.. great you americans always suprise me.

    [Clearly I'm the bad guy. --J.]

    but finally you seem to have come to common sense….

    “If the spirit moves you, please consider supporting CCS so that another person can volunteer, or support another worthwhile NGO ”

    [I glory in your approval. (See, but why is *this* the one comment that sticks in my head, that I choose to respond to? Human nature--or mine, anyway--is such a weird thing.) --J.]

  • ProDesignTools — 2:47 PM on January 16, 2012

    Bon voyage! You won’t regret it and your blog will be (even) better later for the rest.

  • John Hoffman — 2:49 PM on January 16, 2012

    I hope you enjoy your Sabatical, John, and feel refreshed when you get back.

    No matter how great a job one has, and how much one cares about the product, all jobs involve pressure and many tedious chores–that’s why they call it work and why they pay people to do it instead of charging admission.

    I much enjoy your blog find it very informative. In fact, it is the first thing I look at every morning. I can live without it for a few weeks though. Take the time off–completely off, relax and spend some time with your family. When you become 65 now, as I am, you will think a lot more about the time you spent with your family than the time you spent working on what will then be decades old technology.

  • Alton Marsh — 5:21 PM on January 16, 2012

    Would be nice to hear read one or two posts while you are gone about what you are doing down there. Otherwise, rest the blog and we’ll read up when you return.

  • Daniel Peruho — 5:31 PM on January 16, 2012

    It’s gonna be weird don’t read you every morning, but I’m glad for you. I hope you enjoy your sabbatical and you can find what you are looking for.

  • Rod Wynne-Powell — 5:35 PM on January 16, 2012

    John,

    I didn’t see this one coming.

    If, as I understand it you will be away from Margot and the family, I think that will be the toughest wrench.

    I have to say you have provided wonderful service to Adobe, and your blog has been a staple of my web browsing along with Ric Ford’s Macintouch, and I have often wondered where you found the forty-eight hours in each day.

    Your choice of Guatemala from what I have heard will provide you with one thing above anything else – Colour (and that is spelt correctly, as it will be full-colour!) We will look forward to the new you on your return, fully-refreshed and invigorated, all the best.

  • Ellen Huber — 6:26 PM on January 16, 2012

    I think unplugging completely is in order, except from the fam. I’m sure the 2 weeks will fly by far too fast. Relax, enjoy and just breathe!

  • Simon Fairbairn — 8:00 PM on January 16, 2012

    5 weeks? For 10 years service?! 5 weeks is basically what we get in paid vacation time every year in the UK… ;)

    [On the downside, you have to live in the sunny UK. (I kid, I kid!) --J.]

    10 years should get you at least 3 months!

    Anyhow, good luck with your trip to Guatemala. We started in Argentina and got as far up as Costa Rica the first half of last year and we can’t wait to get back there and finish heading North. The Americas really are amazing.

  • James — 8:51 PM on January 16, 2012

    Take the time you need to decompress and forget about the blog for a bit. We’ll all be here when you get back.

  • jimiyo — 9:34 PM on January 16, 2012

    A sabbatical every 5 years? I WANNA WORK FOR ADOBE!

  • BJ Nicholls — 11:50 PM on January 16, 2012

    Don’t worry about the blog. It’ll wait and so will your readers. I’d guess that getting away from stuff like the blog is exactly what’s called for.

  • OddFX — 11:57 PM on January 16, 2012

    Please unplug. It will enhance your creativity and give you more of a sense of the artist you are. We will be here when you return.

  • Phil Brown — 12:39 AM on January 17, 2012

    Take care, enjoy, be safe and be happy, John. In a couple of years I’ll have earned “long service leave” which is 2 months off. You might just have given me some inspiration to do something a little special and more worthwhile when the time comes, mate!

  • drs18 — 6:32 AM on January 17, 2012

    Another reason to like Adobe. Great people. Thanks for all of your great insights and information John Nack.

  • Jean Labelle — 6:55 AM on January 17, 2012

    We all need to step back once and a while.
    Have fun!

  • Jack Larson — 7:49 AM on January 17, 2012

    Honor your sabbatical. Leave the blog behind.

  • Bart — 7:49 AM on January 17, 2012

    Some time ago I realized that since I don’t have to support a wife and kids, don’t have a mortgage I mights as well step out of the pattern and quit working all day every week. Lets spend that money I didn’t spend on diapers and get lazy :)

  • Rob — 10:16 AM on January 17, 2012

    Enjoy your well deserved time off John! I agree with a few others that you need to stay true to the sabbatical and leave the blog behind…it is a Adobe related after all and the whole point is to escape and recharge. No worries, we’ll all be here when you get back.

  • Richard — 11:13 AM on January 17, 2012

    Sometimes you have to march to the beat of a different drum…….

  • butblebeep — 2:13 PM on January 17, 2012

    Good luck and have a great time!

  • imajez — 7:42 PM on January 17, 2012

    As much as I enjoy reading the blog, it won’t be a sabbatical if you continue to keep up your ‘Adobe’ blog. Have a real break.
    Take a sketch pad and do some drawing – you are pretty good with a pencil from the snippets I’ve seen.

    Speaking for those living in the currently freezing and rather frosty UK, I can say that if one is an employee then you usually get around 5 weeks to leave it every year, not to mention Bank holidays and the like. ;-)

  • Anna — 6:19 PM on January 18, 2012

    Thank you very much for all the creative gadgets you´ve pointed out, all the tweet, the blogs, the humorous laughs – now go and spread your wings!!

  • rick burress — 12:42 AM on January 19, 2012

    Live, love, and thank you for inspiring, brother.

  • Nat Brown — 5:26 AM on January 30, 2012

    I know this is an old thread John, but hope things still come through your email nevertheless. I’ve been away and I am now catching up on six weeks of your blog.

    I suspect that you’ve already returned from your trip and I hope, as one writer said, you came back more recharged than you expected.

    You work for a great company (I’m jealous) but even too much of a good thing can be bad. With good food it’s heartburn and with good work it’s burn out.

    I like to start my day with a cup of coffee, your blog, and a quick stop at a site that brings a shot of rejuvenation to each of my days. It is called the Daily Good, http://www.dailygood.org/. If you’re not already familiar with it, I hope it may do some of the same for you.

    Hope all went well in Guatemala.

    Best wishes to all and, as always, many thanks for all the hard work it has taken to keep this blog going.

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