Hello, world!

I’m Natalie, a 37-year-old woman who started her career in Corporate America 15 years ago. For the first half of my career, I worked at both small and large, but very high-powered public relations agencies, contributing to upwards of nine corporate and crisis accounts at once. Then I went in-house (read: one client), but my role evolved from PR management to stakeholder engagement (read: 3,500 clients). Quiet as it’s kept, ya girl BEEN burnt out!

So what am I doing here? Well, what had happened was… (this is a long entry, I’ll work on making them shorter)

I’m blessed to say that my current job isn’t nearly as stressful in terms of workload (imagine that), BUT it has come with it’s own set of stressors. I won’t get into the details, because…they still pay me and are probably reading this now. But, I will say that this pandemic has shined a light on the many ways I’ve code-switched and dialed down who I am (and more importantly how I feel) in order to be the “approachable Black girl” at work. Sis is tired!

In March of this year, I decided to apply for sabbatical from my job. Now pause: I’mma be honest and say I couldn’t even fathom a sabbatical being an option for me pre-pandemic. I saw it as something white people had the privilege of taking after like 10 years of service to a company and WHO is staying at the same place for 10 years these days (mind you, I’m going on eight years, but follow me here)? So I kinda knew about it, but didn’t know about it. Ya dig? Applying for sabbatical could also have something to do with the fact that I’m in love with a man that lives on a different continent, but I’ll get to him in another post.

In our employee contract, sabbatical is awarded to three employees a year as long as they’ve been at the company at least six years. If approved, they receive up to one year of absence from work to literally do whatever the fuck they want – at half pay. So, I applied, but here’s the kicker. I work with close to 300 people and if more than three people apply, it’s given based on seniority. There’s a bit of a “golden handcuffs” thing going on at my job. The benefits are UNMATCHED so I work alongside company lifers and there was a great chance I wouldn’t get approved. Additionally, while going a full year on half pay is usually a deterrent, nobody wants to return to the office during A MUTHAFUCKING PANDEMIC so I imagined more people would be interested in applying.

I impatiently waited FOUR LONG MONTHS (the deadline to submit was at the end of July) to hear back from HR when, come to find out, there was nothing to worry about because I got the most beautiful three-sentence email that read: Natalie, this is to confirm that your sabbatical request for 2022 is approved. A confirmation memo with additional information from HR will be provided prior to your sabbatical leave. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. In the incorrect words of Katy Perry as she performed alongside The Migos, “Oh, shit!” It’s happening! It’s really fucking happening! And if the last four months weren’t stress-induced, try planning what you’ll actually do for an entire year…actually, nevermind. It’s good stress and I’m not about to find reasons to complain.

“Oh shit!”

So yeah, anyway… I’m gonna blog or vlog or something about my experience. Because when I sit still and reflect on the gravity of an opportunity like this, I realize this may quite possibly be my ancestors’ wildest dream. I also honor the fact that many Black women won’t ever get the chance to do something like this. So feel free to join me for the journey!

Got recommendations? Travel tips? Ways I can supplement my income? Prayers and well wishes? Leave it in the comments below!

xo, Natalie

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  • Terri

    October 2, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    Do YOU, boo! I know you will make the most of this opportunity. I will see you on the continent!

  • Crystal

    December 21, 2021 at 4:02 am

    Umm…I would like to know about the man. Please and thank you.

    • Natalie

      December 21, 2021 at 4:40 am

      Keep reading 😉


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