5 Things I Learned From My Staycation Sabbatical

When the operations team announced the new sabbatical benefit, I was only about a year away from being able to take advantage of it. My mind immediately envisioned a fantastic international traveling adventure. Then Covid hit. My travel visions were dialed back to an RV, cruising around the United States with my husband and kiddos. But as my planning continued to become more realistic, I realized that the most vital thing to do for my sabbatical was nothing extravagant at all—I craved a staycation. With four-year-old twins, nothing sounded more appealing than keeping them in their usual school routine and getting full, quiet days to myself at home.

I’m a planner. So even this me-time needed to have some structure. I planned to spend three days a week on purging and re-organizing various rooms in the house. The other two days, I’d allow myself to nerd out on side projects and learn fun, new tech things. 🤓

My last Friday before four weeks of work-free life felt like that moment in college when you walk out of your last final. When Monday arrived, after taking the girls to school, I popped headphones in my ears, cued to some podcasts I’d been waiting to listen to, and went after the toy closet and playroom.

Most of the four weeks went much like this. I kept my mind active and thinking as I love to do. I logged more steps than my usual desk-sitting days and satisfied my need for structure by organizing the house. I even published my first website and application from scratch using a no-code tool I’ve wanted to explore. I was able to genuinely devote my evenings to my husband and kids instead of house chores after a full day of work. And my relaxed mind allowed me to sleep better than I had in years!

Highlights from my sabbatical

  • Several hours on the phone with my best friend helping her through the stress of a cross-country house purchase.
  • Breakfast. Alone. At a cafe in a small town I happened upon while running errands.
  • Planning a fireplace remodel.
Kate White with her family.

What I learned

Aside from the fun tech knowledge I gained, I realized many things about these refreshing four weeks that I should carry into my life from here on out.

  1. All vacation days don’t need to be used for an actual vacation. Taking time for yourself is so important.
  2. It’s ok to take a few minutes away from my desk to actually eat meals at the kitchen table.
  3. To-do lists still motivate me, and that’s also ok.
  4. Evenings are far less stressful when spent enjoying time with your family.
  5. Lunch with a friend during the week(!) is not a sin.

Kate has been with Customer.io for five years. She joined the team as a Front-End Engineer and is now a Product Manager working on our Core Platform Squad. She lives outside Denver, Colorado, with her husband, twin girls, and dog, Liam.

Sabbaticals at Customer.io

After every four years of working at Customer.io, employees are eligible for a four-week paid sabbatical. During the sabbatical, you’ll receive an additional month of salary as a bonus to go somewhere nice or spend it on whatever you want.


Learn more about our company culture and benefits as well as view open positions here. Follow Customer.io on Instagram to see all the cool things people on our team are doing.

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