I hate March. After suffering through months of endless darkness and cold, you are greeted each day with a wonderful mix of mud, dirt and ice. In 2018 all of that changed – I went on my first sabbatical. I have been working since I was 12 years-old and can honestly say that I have never had more than 10 days off in a row. What a gift.

I would like to say that I did some deep soul-searching, climbed a mountain or changed the path of human history. I did not. But what I did do was shut off. I allowed my brain a moment of peace. I put down my screens, opened my mind and heart to the adventure and reminded myself what is great about love, life and work.

Let’s start with love. It might seem strange to start a blog post for work about love… but here we go. On the first day of my sabbatical I picked up my two sisters and we began the drive south to Florida.  Because I love my sisters, I prioritized spending time with them on my sabbatical. I also chose to take the 24-hour drive (which turned into a 30-hour drive) with them so that we could have a new story.  After 50 years of sharing the highlight reel of our lives, it was time to start a new chapter. While the six hours parked on the highway in Maryland was a bit painful, the time allowed us to really listen to one another.

I realized that in my day-to-day life I rarely pause to give my full attention to anyone or anything. While I pride myself on being a great communicator, I fear that I may not have been giving my best to family, friends or co-workers.

Next, life. Life happens every day. Not just on the weekends or during the few fleeting moments from when you arrive home at the end of a long commute. Life happens at the Starbucks counter in the morning. Life happens when you ride the elevator. Life happens when you sit quietly on the beach watching a sunset. My sabbatical reminded me that time is not created. We are given 24-hours in a day to do with what we can. While I was away, my clients thrived, my team pushed forward, and life went on. This taught me that my true legacy in life will not be defined by the work I completed, but how I made people feel on the journey.

Finally, work. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have found a profession that I truly enjoy. I enjoy learning something new every day. I enjoy watching my team grow in their careers. I enjoy helping my clients achieve their goals and try new things. Learning? Prioritize the things you love most.

I am happy to report that by the end of my sabbatical, March had passed, I missed four ‘nor’easters and my house was still standing. More importantly, my mind was cleared to set the path for the next adventure. Thank you to SHIFT Communications for offering this unique benefit. Thank you to my team for always having my back. Thank you more to my family for encouraging me to pursue my work.

Annie Perkins
Senior Vice President


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