Reflections on my time off from work

After nine long months, my wife and I finally had our third baby Alessio. It was an emotional, exciting, and exhilarating experience to be part of the birth in our home. Thankfully, I was able to take some time off from work so we could get adjusted to the new norm.

Over the years, I have come to realize that it’s best to completely disconnect from work while I’m on vacation or away from the office — there’s nothing worse than reading that one email, or Slack message, that comes in and occupies your thoughts for the rest of your time off. This time around things were a little different leading up to my time off so I had to reconsider my position. I was right in the middle of a project that had a lot of momentum and wasn’t sure when the baby would come. I’ve been told to think of a baby’s due date as more of a due month. Anyways, I decided I’d check in from time to time to stay on top of things and make sure I didn’t fall behind.

I’m happy to report that nothing came up that totally distracted me from my time at home with the family. My colleagues were very respectful of me being away and almost completely reduced their interactions with me. A couple things of interest popped up from time to time but I felt bad chiming in because of the expectation it could set with other colleagues — I don’t want anyone to think they need to check-in and comment on my stuff while they’re away because I did.  I thought it would be better to leave those items unaddressed until I got back.

When I got back from work things were just as they were when I left. I still had a lot of catching up to do and realized the efforts I took to stay up to date didn’t really make much of a difference. With that said, checking in from time to time didn’t really take away from my leave in any impactful way but it was a distraction nevertheless. Faced with the choice again, I feel confident in my belief that it’s best to disconnect completely when I’m away from work.