It seems just like yesterday that I was headed off on my sabbatical from Microsoft. This has been a break chalked full of memories that I will have for a lifetime. As I prepare for the burn of reentry, I thought it would be useful to pen some random thoughts about my break.
There have been so many highlights. The massive road trip that Josie and I took, making peace with my past, getting involved with the Skate Like A Girl non-profit, laser eye surgery spending time with my wonderful wife Lauri , hanging with our cool dog Brady and getting to know my neighbors.
Lots of folks had predictions about my return. To be honest going into this I really didn’t know how I’d feel at this point.
Would I unplug?
Would I be rested?
Would this change me?
Would I return?
The answers to all of these of course are a resounding Yes!
Unplugged? You bet. I was able to completely unplug from work, never checking mail once. Facebook, Twitter and blogs did become a great outlet for connecting with folks, from back home and the work ones too. The growth of Facebook is ironic as I’ve been rallying about Facebook to folks at Microsoft for the last three years. This all started after watching my daughter get hooked on it as she entered college. Many had their doubts, some full of skepticism about a lack of global appeal. So I am glad to see a few folks have signed on. What’s great about Facebook for me though is that it has enabled me to find many lost friends from childhood. These are people who wouldn’t fit into the alpha geek crowd, people from all cross-sections of life. As more people sign on and I get added as a friend it is sort of like having an impromptu family or high school reunion. Only thing better than the real life equivalents I can decide who I meet. The folks at Facebook have definitely created something very special.
Am I rested? Totally. I’ve never felt healthier, I’ve kicked a nasty fast food habit, started a regiment of regular walks, sleep and feel like I am ready to take on the world.
Would this change me? I hope not. No big epiphanies on this break, didn’t find Buddha or everlasting peace. I did find something though that I didn’t realize I had lost and that is “the old Jeff”. I wasn’t sure when I lost him, but I had. You see, I don’t think going into this break I realized how tired I was. How the startup environment, I experienced for the last 11+ years at Microsoft combined with family health issues, had taken its toll on me. I was worn out and even a bit jaded. Now after taking this time my smile is back, a renewed sense of optimism has came and I am rejuvenated.
Would I return? You bet. Tomorrow is a new day for me back at Microsoft. I am ready to return to the company I dreamt to work for, since I was a child and am so thankful for them enabling me to take a break like this.
To my team, thank you for keeping the trains running while I am gone. You are an inspiring group. To Steve and Sanjay, thank you for encouraging me to take this time. It has been amazing and something I will never forget.