Many people ask me the reason behind my sabbatical – why am I taking this six-month unpaid leave.
I actually planned to either quit my job or take a long unpaid leave since a year ago. The trigger point was my last year’s technical assessment – that I obviously didn’t do well. First of all, I hate to blame the assessment style or the system. Here, I will just admit myself. It is my own weakness and ignorance towards the list of things that I need to know within and around my job scope.
Rage vs passion. Double burning
I’m not someone who will do nothing about my rage, it’s not necessarily bad. I also hate to complain without taking actions. To be honest, I never hate the job or any specific person at my company. I can’t point to anything or anyone. When I think deeply into it, it’s not actually about other things, but myself.
I have something that I love more – a passion. If you don’t share the same perspective, this might sound silly to you but I love writing (and blogging). I love that more than being a geophysicist, a relatively high paying job in oil and gas industry.
I’d rather be acknowledged by five people who really benefit from my writing than working for a pyramid of humans who are struggling to reach the top in many unimaginable ways – some are good, while some (or mostly), not so. At least, that’s how I feel about it. So,
I. need. to. do. something.
I originally planned the leave just to try – staying at home, being a housewife (except that now I am no longer someone’s wife), living slowly doing what I love, writing and blogging every day.
Is this something that I really wanted?
This is an experiment, just because I have the chance. My boss would hate me if he knows this, I’ll be fired right away if I ever come back.
Initiating the talk with my superior
I started to talk to my superior about the unpaid leave’s intention since early February 2018. For a year before that, sadly he sees me as someone who is less capable than my other colleagues – hence my last year’s performance rating. He is not wrong about that though I sometimes hope that he sees more in me.
I am still thankful, in fact very thankful because, despite that, he is an understanding manager – the cooler breed. He lets me have the unpaid leave to rejuvenate my spirit towards the job. He understands my struggles as a single mother and what I’ve been through after the divorce.
Though sometimes I’m not so sure about few things myself. The burning desire was caused by my hardly growing career, or the not-so-healthy working environment, or the traffic jam that I had to face after fighting wars with my kids just to send them to school – then being late to the office, or the exhaustion of handling my kids alone on weekdays, or really just the passion towards blogging that I couldn’t 100% express – the real plan I couldn’t execute because of the things mentioned above.
Perhaps, they are all in. My fire is big.
My son had problems at school
At the same time, I noticed that my son, A had some difficulties at school. He had been bullied. His teachers contacted us to discuss his behavior in class. He couldn’t focus on the learning and he was always sick. One day, he vomited at school and I needed to leave my office immediately to pick him up.
Monitoring him with homework almost every night at home, I notice his pattern. It’s difficult for him to differentiate certain letters. He spends an unusually long time completing tasks that involve reading or writing. He always tries his best to avoid this kind of activities. It makes him tired and sleepy. He will cry and vomit if I push him a little longer.
Sounds like a very lazy difficult child that just doesn’t want to study, right? But wait.
The gift of dyslexia
We all are the ‘Google’ moms nowadays, so with his common symptoms, I found out that it is dyslexia that he’s actually struggling with. I straight away (without doctors, teachers and school recommendation) went to Dyslexia Center near my place. Dragged his father along to pay the assessment fee of 200 bucks.
The result was devastating for us. A actually has a moderate to severe dyslexia. Not only he couldn’t differentiate left-right (b and d), he also has trouble with up-down mirrored letters (p and b). That time, I started to understand the vomiting.
My understanding makes him more comfortable to discuss his struggle with me. He told me that sometimes he sees the words dancing and changing till he couldn’t keep up. My poor boy.
The unpaid leave comes just in time for me to give more attention to him.
It’s definitely a long answer for a why. Thank you for reading this far.
I’m planning to write more about the unpaid leave – my journey to grow this blog and assisting my son to overcome his dyslexia. I’ll write about my preparation especially on the mental and financial side because when you’re taking unpaid leave for six months, clearly it’s unpaid. To add more into that, I’m single with two kids to take care of (hint for that: a lot of saving, minimalism, blogging income and co-parenting).
Whether I’ll be successful or not, at this point it is too early.