The Sabbatical

All right, you've fooled around long enough. I've mentioned it. I've danced around the edges. I've stuck a toe in it, so let's just get it over with.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

The first 14 years of my career were spent doing multi-currency financial reporting and budgeting systems for
Arthur Andersen. It was fun. I loved my job. I liked the people I worked with. I was challenged. Then some folks in Dallas don’t practice proper document retention policies* and the government scapegoats 88,000 people for the Enron thing. While the accountants and consultants landed on their feet, we back office people weren't so lucky.

But, I got to stay on for a while with full pay, sorting backup tapes until the end of September, 2002.

And 'the Sabbatical' began. I did get 14 weeks of severance and insurance lasting into the new year. Plus unemployment benefits. Plus I had a condo down payment saved up. Money wasn't really an issue. (No wife / kids / pets either. I do have A (1) plant, but it's not too demanding.)

I traveled to Arizona to visit T-Bone and Mrs. IVy.
I saw the Grand Canyon.
I went for a run most every day.
I applied to the same 15 jobs every day.
I won a
radio contest.
I had, then lost a girlfriend (actually a rarity for me).
I started the website that was the precursor to this blog. And wrote
this, and this, and this, and this on it. (What did you think the tag 'Archive' meant?)
I turned running into training for a marathon when I realized that 7 mile runs were now "short runs". (I have since quite running. Knee issues.)
I applied to the same 15 jobs every day.
I had 1 interview in May, with
I got one snail-mail rejection letter and was so happy to know that not all my applications were just sent down into a black hole that I actually cried tears of happiness over a

As the summer of 2003 wound down, I was seriously starting to think about getting that "stop the bleeding" job in retail. That's when I got a call from my old manager, '
Magill' called and asked if I would be up for a temp job at a new company she was at. I had to apply and everything, and it was supposed to last only 6 months, but she needed someone she could trust to work this second shift position. I knew nothing about the application I would be working on, or the tools I would be using, but I applied and accepted the job.

On October 12, 2003, I ran the
Chicago Marathon in 4:21:48. So dead on 10 minutes miles, and it felt great.

On October 13, 2003, the Sabbatical ended as I started my new job, and the next phase in my life. (*part of my job is the enforcement of proper document retention policies. Oh the irony.)

I have since changed jobs, but still report to Magill. I still keep in touch with a lot of the Andersen folks. I have / do work with some. Bought a condo from one. Have a Pictionary** party planned with another in December. We're a bit like war buddies. We get it. We understand.

I learned a lot about myself that year. I know what retirement is like. I learned that while history repeats itself, the
History Channel repeats itself like every 3 hours.

"Some of it's magic. Some of it's tragic. But I had a good life all the way." Love the quote. HATE the

**Once in college, they had a Pictionary contest in the dining hall. I had to draw the clue 'pussy footing around'. After T-Bone shouting "cat foot" "kick the cat" I was force to "go blue." Didn't work, but was amusing when the phrase was read aloud.


Candy's daily Dandy said...

I guess you could say I'm sort of on sabbatical right now. I got laid off in August and now I am considering a "career change". Sounds so lame-I know, but I seriously don't know what I want to do when I grow up. But I better hurry-the clock is ticking.

Scope said...

I thought I read that on your blog early on when I started reading it. Hang in there. As you and MelO can tell, I can empatize.

And a lot of folks left IT when our change occured. House painter, nusrse, librarian, a couple of teachers, and that's just in my little group.

I have now doubt that whatever you do, it will be dandy.