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Why Shabbatical?


In Memory

One of the most influential people in Quan’s life is her dad, George who passed away in 2009. George was born in Vietnam and only had access to an elementary school education; he quit middle school to start working to provide for his family.  From this he built his own company in rubber manufacturing and was brave enough to give it all up to move his family to the US. You can learn more about Quan’s family’s immigration story here. George had a stroke when he was 60 and survived 3 more years with severe limitations before passing away from sepsis during one of the many frequent trips to the ER during his final years.

One of the most influential people in Jesse’s life was his friend Eric, who passed way suddenly in 2012 at 31 years old, five months before his wedding.  Jesse and Eric knew each other since they were in camp together at 10 years old; they were later roommates the summer before Jesse’s senior year at Columbia as well as roommates in Manhattan the year after graduating.  Jesse learned that your health is something that can change in an instant and it’s important to live life to fullest and not to spend your life waiting to follow your passions.

We both think and talk to each other about George and Eric often: the impact they had on our lives and what we could learn from their life.  They are the real inspirations for this year’s shabbatical.

Every Workout Regime Needs a “Rest Day”

Let’s clearing something up first, we both love our jobs.

Jesse is Vice President of Development at one of the largest real estate development firms in the country (shameless plug to our LinkedIn Profile for when we need to find a job).

Quan is Director of International Marketing at the largest medical device company in the world. (shameless plug to our LinkedIn Profile for when we need to find a job).

We are both deeply interested in and feel value from the work we do. We enjoy the people we get to work with and the companies we are a part of. So we aren’t taking a shabbatical to get away or because we feel burned out.

We are taking a shabbatical because we want to continue enjoying our work.

As mentioned in our “Meet Jesse & Quan” we have both taken time off previously. We have found that we return fresh, optimistic and ready to take on any challenge. While it is hard to walk away from jobs we love with clear progression opportunities, we also believe that time off will better equip us for the next opportunity that comes.

And On the Seventh Day God Rested

One of our favorite Jewish rituals is that of Shabbos (Shabbat/ Sabbath):

In Exodus 20:11, after Fourth Commandment is first instituted, God explains, “because for six days, the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and on the seventh day, he rested; therefore, the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it.” By resting on the seventh day and sanctifying it, we remember and acknowledge that God is the creator of heaven and earth and all living things. We also emulate the divine example, by refraining from work on the seventh day, as God did. If God’s work can be set aside for a day of rest, how can we believe that our own work is too important to set aside temporarily?

As part of our Shabbos ritual, we typically spend time outdoors close to nature because that is where we both feel closest to God.  Our Shabbatical is in a sense a year of  rest to be closer to God, basking in the wonder of the world He created: a year celebrating each day as Shabbos.

A Year To Learn

Finally, we have found that travel enables us to learn the most about ourselves, each other, and the world. Since meeting each other in 2015 we have traveled together to Colombia, Cuba, Italy, Spain, and various locations around the US.  Cuba was our honeymoon and was one of the few places in the world where we did not have connectivity: a week with no email, phone, or Internet.  That week in Cuba was really our first “shabbatical.”   We read more books during that week than the previous few months, which is why we plan to update the bookshelf on this blog with our reading list. We found that the time away from our ultra connected lives also created space for creative thoughts and ideas to surface.

Thank you for following our journey!

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