I took a LOA and worked on these 3 personal projects

Posted by on January 21, 2021 · 3 mins read Categories: General

What would you do if you had the option to take a few months off and not travel? I had the option to do just that this past year.

There’s a lot of things that people say that they want to do. The common constraint? Time. The problem is that there are few times in peoples’ lives where one can simply take time off.

One of the few times this may come up during your life may be when you’re between jobs - either voluntarily or involuntarily. I read online where someone in their 50s had said that the longest they’d taken off between jobs was a weekend.

So what would you do if you could take time off, and still have a job to come back too?

This second part is key since it means you can be free to explore options without worrying about job hunting.

Leave of Absence

In consulting particularly, it’s fairly common to take a leave of absence . Firms encourage consultants to try out secondments, and to take this time to try out new projects. This is a risk-free way to try something new, or to do something you wouldn’t do otherwise.

The world turned upside down trying to work through a pandemic (remotely) and so I decided to take the opportunity to make the most out of it. I’d always planned on taking one eventually, and so I took a leave of absence (LOA) in the second half of 2020.

So what did I end up doing? I worked on several personal projects. With these ‘sabbaticals’ or ‘leaves’ I feel like it’s important to have some type of a plan as opposed to just treating it as a summer vacation (it’s different if you’re just burnt out and are looking to sleep and recover).

  • I wanted to improve my french.Outside of the years spent playing Bingo in French, I had only taken it for two years in high school. I’d try to practice here and there, but it had been essentially 10 years since I was immersed in French and had the opportunity to practice it.
  • I wanted to take a programming course. Why? I’d always been interested in ‘tech’ and the way that it enabled people. People who program have the skill set to build out their own ideas and to find way themselves to enable efficiencies and scale. I wasn’t trying to become a programmer by any means, but I felt that it would be helpful to have a a high-level understanding of how everything worked.
  • I wanted to build out TravoShare (Beta). Having more time available meant I could dedicate more time towards building out our community (inherently the waitlist) as well as the product itself.

These three projects are what I would call my ‘core’ projects. On top of those, I had other goals which included reading more (e.g., history) and exercising more. Eventually I also ended up learning more about design, creating a personal site, and building this blog with Jekyll.