Posted: November 30, 2017

After 5 years of service, Influence Health employees are offered the opportunity for a sabbatical. The primary purpose of the Sabbatical Program is to allow employees time to recharge, rejuvenate, and return to work re-energized. Sabbaticals are planned, strategic job-pauses during which an employee should take time to engage in activities they may not otherwise have the time to do such as travel, volunteer, do research, learn a new skill, or fulfill a lifelong dream before returning to work.

Pat Kennedy, Director Client Web in Web-Product Management, shares about her sabbatical.

1. What do you do at Influence Health and what is your title?
I have been with IH for 17 years and have worn many hats on the CMS side of the house. My current role as a Business Partner involves acting as a subject matter expert for our content management system, supporting sales demos, product GAPs, as well as training support.

horse-back-riding-in-ireland

2. Where did you go and why did you choose to go there?
Ireland. I am Irish and was interested in seeing where my Kennedy clan started. I also have a very good friend who owns an old stone house in a charming harbor town.

3. How long did it take to plan the trip?
We planned our flights about 3 months in advance and from there not much else. We like to wing it. We are not your typical tourists, as we like to drive off the beaten path and explore hidden treasures. Daily priorities were to explore as much of the countryside and coastline as possible while avoiding the larger cities. Without the planning we were always on the hunt for horses to ride through the countryside, surf, pubs, and golf courses. We succeeded!

4. What did your manager say when you asked for the time off?
When I originally wanted to go, we were knee deep in rolling out our new CMS, which was a deal breaker. I made a deal that after 5 successful launches, I would go, but my role changed and that’s when I got the all clear.

family-connections

5. Share a favorite memory or two from your trip.
• Following my family roots: My great grandfather, John Thomas Kennedy, was born in 1832 in a small village, Castlegregory. After speaking to many locals in Castlegregory, I learned that my family lived out on a small peninsula called The Maharees. Our time on The Maharees was by far the most magical. I met a farmer named Lawrence O’Connor who was not only born and raised on The Maharees, but his mother was also a Kennedy. I am pretty certain we are related somewhere down the line. Lawrence and I tacked up two of his horses and toured The Maharees talking history and about the Kennedys. We galloped empty beaches and climbed green hills overlooking the entire peninsula. After our ride, he directed me to an ancient graveyard at the end of the peninsula where our Kennedy families are buried. It was a very spiritual moment being there. I helped Lawrence set up a YELP account to sell his riding services on The Maharees.
• My good deed in Ireland: I am a horse and animal lover. We came across 3 horses and a donkey on a back road adventure who needed attention to their feet. I snapped a few photos with my phone, and ironically the next day we ran into a horse rescue team. Long story short, by the time we left Ireland I had coordinated with the rescue team to get their feet cleaned up. This was a small deed that felt so good, since they were no longer walking in pain.

irish-people
• The people of Ireland: We met so many amazing Irish friends. Every corner we turned in Ireland was like getting a big Irish hug. There is something so intriguing to see a culture still living the simple life, a life that is not filled with overkill of technology but rather the beauty out their front doors. I helped a few with their mobile websites, as I found errors trying to reach them and set up YELP accounts to help grown their business. They are all coming to visit me on my ranch in California.
• Lastly, was the age of the stone ruins, castles, forts, and churches throughout this beautiful countryside. Walking through forts from the medieval times, 900 BC, and castles from the 1100’s while trying to wrap your head around what it must have been like living back then was so interesting.

6. How did you feel on your first day back in the office?
• AMAZING and re-energized! This was one of the healthiest things I have ever done, disconnecting from the daily grind. Thank you Influence Health! It did take me a day or two to get back into the groove.

7. What would you tell someone worried about being gone/letting go of their projects for that long?
• Just Do IT! I won’t lie, its odd leaving your job for that length of time. With a good support team and being organized before you leave, you should have nothing to worry about.

irish-roots

8. Would you do it again? If so, what would you do differently?
• In a heartbeat. I wish I would have done it sooner. I turned off all notifications for Slack and Outlook and moved those APPS out of site on my phone. It was quite nice.

9. Anything else you’d like to share about your sabbatical?
Google Maps isn’t the same in Ireland. We were constantly lost and at one point found ourselves driving in an outdoor pedestrian mall in the middle of a city.
• They have NO road signs
• There are more tractors than cars in Ireland
• You don’t get anywhere quickly
• To put things in perspective, Ireland is 33,000 sq miles with a population of 4.6 Million, while California is 163,000 sq miles with 39.5 Million.
• I thoroughly enjoyed every minute off!

10. When did you take your trip?
• We went mid-June of 2017 and spend 2.5 weeks in Ireland

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