Three months and a lifetime of learnings

Posted by: Aga Maciejewska

Back in April, I decided to take advantage of one of Stand’s greatest perks. I crafted an email, tweaked, and proofed it multiple times and shut the screen of my laptop the moment I hit ‘send’. I asked whether I could go on a three-month sabbatical.

There was, of course, no need to worry – my decision was met with nothing but excitement across the company.

August, September and October went by in a flash and now that I’m back, I wanted to share a couple of things I learned through the process:

Perks are there for the taking

Even though sabbatical existed as a perk at Stand since the company’s inception, I was the first employee to take it. And I’m so, so glad I did. Everyone has been incredibly supportive throughout the process, ensuring the arrangement worked for me, but also for other members of the team. Three months later, I was welcomed on my first day back with glee and excitement.

Making the decision to take the sabbatical is a big one, and three months is a long time, but don’t let that hold you back. If you feel like you’d like to, go for it – company perks are there to be taken advantage of and one like this can truly benefit your personal development and mental health.

Do what’s right for you

When I first started thinking about the sabbatical, taking it in the middle of the global pandemic seemed like a controversial idea (which I was consistently reminded of by my mum). You can’t really travel, you don’t know how the pandemic situation will develop, so why take it now, when you can save it for a three-month trip around South America?

As appealing as a three-month trip around South America sounds, I knew that this wasn’t what I wanted to do. I wanted to have time when I can truly focus on things that interest me, time without distractions, where I could sit and read books all day. And that’s precisely what I did.

Cherish the time to reflect

It’s almost a cliché to say that we should always make time to take a step back and reflect but as with every cliché, this one is just very true.

The luxury of a long time off definitely helps – but what I’ve also realised, is that I need to make a conscious effort to not use ‘a lack of time’ as an excuse.

I think I’m much more mindful about the importance of ongoing reflection, so my early New Year’s resolution is ‘more walks during the working day’ – finding the time to clear your head and reflect on your work and life (here come the cliches again!) matters more than you think.

Carve time for your interests

Having been given the opportunity to dedicate a lot of time to my interests over the past three months, I’m now very protective of the time that I can spend doing the things that make me happy. At times, it might be a bit too easy to let the work take over – good work-life balance is important, and something that we all need to ensure we strive towards.

**

So, after the longest time off since finishing uni, I feel more refreshed than ever and excited to get back to old colleagues, familiar clients and new challenges.

If you want to find out more about life and Stand, and the great benefits that are on offer, get in touch with our Head of Culture, Grace at grace@standagency.com.

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