Monday, December 7, 2009

Prison Break: Ball in Play

"Start now. Today. Tomorrow is always too late"
--Bill Drummond

At 8 AM today I sat down with my supervisor and informed him of my plan to go to Europe for at least a few months. Whatever happens, I feel the same sort of relief anyone who has unloaded a burdensome secret feels afterward. The ball is in play. At last, something can happen.

The perfect scenario is one where I work 51% time for my organization remotely, logging in for 4 hours a day, 3 PM to 7 PM Eastern European Time, which is 8 AM to 12 PM Eastern Standard Time in the United States. Thus, I continue to draw a salary while I travel. It could be the difference between a short, anticlimactic adventure which concludes with me being flat broke versus many months spent exploring Eastern and Central Europe.

But my supervisor strongly suspects that the director will not approve of this. Although many people work remotely a majority of the time here at our offices, he thinks that if the powers that be were aware even of this basic fact they would be unhappy. Justifying my working from Europe would be a tougher sell still.

The alternative scenario is a leave of absence. This could even be cleverly engineered so that I hold onto my benefits. The way this would work is that I would alternate between two weeks of vacation time and two weeks of absence, resulting in the 51% threshold I need to continue my benefits.

Of course, the real risk here is that there might be a strong incentive to simply let me go. After all, what if, after all that, I wind up not returning to my job at all? Of what benefit is that to the organization? On the other hand, I should be entitled to take my vacation time, so it seems like nothing is lost, there.

So the hamster wheel goes round and round.

My supervisor asked if I would consider waiting until July, after the end of the fiscal year. I said no. The time is now. Tomorrow is always too late.

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