I wish I worked for your company! I heard this phrase over and over again when I would tell people that we were in Europe because I had earned a four week Sabbatical from my employer. Many were incredulous that any employer would give that amount time off without many stipulations on what to do with it.
But that’s exactly what I received after I worked for 15 years at DISHER. 15 years is a long period of time…longer than most employees spend at one employer. It shows the level of commitment and belief I have in our purpose and our mission. There haven’t been many of us (yet) who have reached the 15 year mark, but when you reach that milestone, four weeks are gifted to you to spend some time away from the office, leave the worries of the working world behind, most of which is uninstructed. Some professional development is encouraged, but the intent is to provide time to rest, rejuvenate and recharge. Rest looks different for everyone, but my husband and I decided to use a portion of the time to travel to a place we’d never been before.
With endless options of destinations, we had a big decision to make. Both of us enjoy outdoors more than museums, so we knew we didn’t want to spend our time indoors. Our potential choices were vast, but we finally decided on the Swiss Alps. The majestic scenery, fresh, natural springs (we even filled our water bottles with water directly from mountain springs!) and hiking next to clanging cow bells and grazing animals sounded like a perfect way to spend some time off. We were so excited, and all thanks to DISHER and of course the time put in over 15 years.
After a week in the Alps, we headed to the Amalfi Coast and Rome. A beautiful hotel on the coast, more hiking and discovering that we enjoy Antipasto platters (who doesn’t like cheese?). We ended our time in Rome, doing the typical touristy things. Touring through the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica, along with stops at the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain rounded out our trip. We discovered the congestion of the city is less our style than the majestic scenes of the Alps. How did this guy get out of his car?
Feeling content and recharged, we were ready to head back to the States. We arrived back home with enough time left of the four-week gift that could be spent reading, resting, but also painting the exterior of our home. Not everyone’s first choice, but a reminder of using the time spent to rejuvenate not just our mental wellbeing, but our physical environment. To me, it was perfect because I could listen to podcasts I had fallen behind on, and spending time learning while I enjoy the beautiful outdoors.
As the Sabbatical drew to a close, I had a surprising revelation. I needed PURPOSE back into my life. I needed to get back to serving others. My purpose in life is not to serve only myself, even though during this time it was EXACTLY what I needed. Our mission at DISHER is to Make a Positive Difference. Committing to our community and being servant hearts to make a lasting ripple for lives and generations to come. To constantly think only about myself is to waste my life! I was ready to return to DISHER and serve my coworkers, and get back to stewarding our community and our customers.
Perhaps that’s the evil plan of why DISHER gives us a sabbatical… to come to the realization of how much we enjoy serving our customers, community and how that impacts providing a great service to them. Sounds pretty maniacal to me…
…and yes, I packed enough for two weeks, for two people, all in two backpacks. Consider me a Tetris professional.