Sabbaticals can require preparation far in advance if one hopes to visit another institution/country/continent, so even though I am approximately midway between my last sabbatical and what I hope will be my next sabbatical, I have recently started thinking that I need to think about my next sabbatical. Thinking about thinking about something is not always the most effective means of getting something done, but it's a start.
In my department and in my family, sabbaticals take extra planning because my professor-spouse and I need (want? prefer? hope?) to take a sabbatical in the same year. For the last sabbatical, it took much longer than it should have for the previous department chair to agree that my husband and I could both have a sabbatical in the same year. The current chair is much more understanding about the 2-career-couple thing, but he wants at least 3 years advance notice. He has now been notified.
Now all we have to do is (1) agree on a place to go; and (2) get some funding (we are paid 50% of our salary during a sabbatical). I am not sure which one will be easier -- both have their challenges.
For the last sabbatical, my daughter was at a very portable age and was happy to have random adventures that her wise parents organized for her. It was challenging for her to be plunked into a new school in a new country, especially since she didn't know much of the language of that country, but within a few months she was speaking with some fluency in a new language, had made friends, and was very happy.
Our daughter's love of travel and adventure continues to this day, but the second-most-common sabbatical comment (after 'Where do you want to go?') that people make re. sabbaticals is that because my daughter will be a teenager for the next sabbatical, it's going to be difficult to get her to agree to go in the first place and life will be difficult once we get wherever we are going. So far, though, none of these dire predictions about going on sabbatical with a teenager have come from anyone who has done a sabbatical-avec-teen, though some have come from people who are not going to attempt a sabbatical trip because their offspring is/are of the teen species. I may have absolutely no idea what I am in for, but I can't imagine not going away for a sabbatical because my daughter will be a teenager.
As I was typing this, my department chair stopped by my office and said "I want to talk to you about your sabbatical." No, he did not want to talk about the fact that my daughter will be a teenager. He wanted to bring to my attention that it had just occurred to him that he will no longer be department chair that year, and perhaps I will be the next department chair, in which case I can't go on sabbatical.
I said: Do you mean to say that I would have to choose between being Department Chair and going on Sabbatical?
Yes, replied the Current Department Chair.
Hmm, let me think about that choice for a femtosecond, said I. And then: Sabbatical. Yes, I am pretty sure I would rather go on sabbatical than assume onerous administrative duties.
And furthermore, I thought but did not say, according to the way that my department/college does things, I would have to allow myself to be considered for the chair position, with no guarantee of attaining this lofty goal, and therefore my husband and I would have to stop all sabbatical planning in the event that I was selected, which is by no means as certain as the current chair thinks it would be. And then I might find myself with neither sabbatical nor chairpersonship. Yes, I definitely choose sabbatical*. I just don't know where it will be yet.
* As it turns out, today the Current Department Chair had the same conversation with my husband about our possibly forgoing our sabbaticals in the event that I would become Chair. I am glad I was not present for that conversation, although there is a remote possibility that my husband just laughed in a certain way he has when someone is saying something completely insane to him and he just wants them to go away. That is my hope, anyway.
9 months ago