I’m curious about your experiences being on leave. I am supposed to be on sabbatical in the spring, but the sabbatical funding I applied for did not pan out, and I have been so preoccupied with the mess [in my department] that I have been unable to make an alternate plan. I’m trying to decide whether to cancel/postpone my sabbatical or go ahead with it and hang out elsewhere as much as possible. I won’t be able to offload everything, but could offload some of it. But I hate to “waste” a sabbatical and don’t think postponing would be a problem (the Dean is well aware of the mess and the amount of involvement I have with it). It sounds like the leave has been good for you even if you’re not really “gone”.
I would definitely see what the rules are on postponing— Ours are competitive and we’re not allowed to postpone. Also if you get a sabbatical after X years, does that mean your next sabbatical won’t be until X+1 years?
I knew the department head in another related department and just asked if I could have a desk over there. It’s in another building. He said yes and wrote me a letter of support. They had space to give me a desk in an office with a window, which I wasn’t expecting. There’s even a couch although it’s a bit musty. (Everyone remarks on how cool the couch is but nobody actually sits on it.) I changed my parking permit over and informed my current head that those were the dates I was no longer doing service (though I actually did process a bunch of course waivers after that date, and of course I also did the promotion and tenure stuff I wasn’t allowed to not do).
You should be able to offload everything. The best part of sabbatical is breaking service ties and starting fresh when you get back. (I won’t be able to this time— the chair has kept my spot for me as program coordinator and we’re now hiring for 6 new positions instead of just the 5. And adding I don’t know how many new programs without any thought put into them because the new college president values speed over anything else.). If you can’t do that it might make sense to wait until you can.
For academic readers– saving up for a half-paid full year leave is wonderful if you can do it. The first time we were able to do it, DH really got why savings might be useful. Before then I think it was just something he did because it made me freak out less.
I’ve definitely felt more “away” when I’ve actually been in another state and my time away has been more respected in those instances. But also we haven’t had to deal with finding housing or renting out our house, so that’s something. Currently our furnishings are probably too worn to rent to people and there’s that awful Trump flag across the street.
Grumpy academics: What are your thoughts on local vs. away sabbaticals and on postponing a year?