October 26, 2023

PAUArangers' spotlight: Theresa and her sabbatical experience

EMPAUA Salesforce Partner

At EMPAUA, one of our mission is to create a world where every individual is empowered to constantly grow. We believe that work-life should be engaging, and we should be encouraged to embark on extraordinary journeys for growth, both personally and professionally.

In this edition of PAUArangers' spotlight, meet Theresa, a Salesforce Consultant and Senior Project Manager with four remarkable years at EMPAUA. Theresa recently returned from a year-long sabbatical, with experiences that have become a treasure trove of wisdom and inspiration. In this blog post, journey with us, we'll uncover those anecdotes from her sabbatical, the invaluable lessons she gained and how EMPAUA supported her during this personal growth journey.

Behind the sabbatical decision

Theresa at Munich Airport, setting off for her sabbatical year

"I knew I wanted to travel, explore the world, and dive deeper into personal projects. I also wanted to spend this time with my family and friends so I was convincing them to join me in different parts of the world for an extended vacation." Theresa shared. 

For her, this sabbatical means more than just a career break. It was about self-discovery, about unearthing corners of the world that she'd been yearning to explore while spending time with her loved ones. Theresa began her journey with lots of preparations, from vaccinations to travel documents. She created a clear itinerary of where to go, and what to see as she saw the journey as a chance to deep dive into the diverse cultures, landscapes, and experiences that our planet has to offer. 

"The world is vast; you've got to know what you want to explore; otherwise, you can surely travel your whole life," Theresa wisely reflects.

Exploring the beauty of the world and… coffee

Theresa spent her sabbatical living a globetrotter lifestyle. “I explored Africa, Asia, and South America as well as parts of North America.”, she said, “Each continent captivated me in a different way and opened up a new world and way of living.”

From the majestic Taj Mahal in India to the ancient wonder of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Theresa was left in awe of the world's beauty. She also delved into some of history's darker chapters, such as the chilling reports of the Khmer Rouge, found pure joy in kayaking through Halong Bay, witnessing Africa's "Big Five" (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and African buffalo) in their natural habitat, hiking in Patagonia, and to Machu Picchu.

As she explored different countries, Theresa immersed herself in a passion that was universally cherished yet uniquely local: coffee. “I also indulged in a lot of coffees, especially flat whites, all around the world. There are many great coffee shops and lovely cafés to pass the time, read a book and find new friends.”

"The world is truly spectacular.” - she reflects. But beyond the breathtaking sights, it was the connections she had with fellow travelers and the moments shared with them that made her adventures truly unforgettable.

The impact of taking sabbatical

Sabbaticals are often seen as a pause, a break from the usual. But for Theresa, it was a journey into the heart of self-understanding. It allowed her to strip away the external labels, all daily routines and societal expectations to get to know herself truly. 

“The sabbatical offers you ample time to figure out who you are when you’re alone, what interests you and what not. Trying out things is very important to see what is your cup of tea - or in my case, a cup of coffee.”, Theresa remarked. “And ask yourself: What is it that you really value? What do you want to do with the little time you have given here on earth and how can you achieve it?”

The answers to these questions are found, according to her, not only through the adventures  but also in the pages of books that accompanied her on this journey. She gained insights that went beyond personal growth and influenced her professional life. These insights, gleaned from her time away, promise to guide her in the chapters ahead at EMPAUA.

Pillar of support

Theresa's sabbatical journey was as much an individual adventure as it was a group effort. 

Reflecting on her time away, she expressed immense gratitude towards EMPAUA and her colleagues: “They cleared the legal path, making it possible for me to take a year off without any worries. My colleagues pitched in, handling my long-term projects, and ensuring my schedule was free for this profound adventure. Their support didn't end at the office door either. Many followed my travels, keeping pace with my adventures through Polarsteps, Instagram, and my website.”

Theresa meeting up with some PAUArangers living in South Africa during her sabbatical

Wrapping up

Theresa's sabbatical experience is a testament to the transformative power of stepping away from a routine and embracing a journey of self-discovery. For those who are considering taking a sabbatical, Theresa has some candid advice:

“Follow through with it. It's essential to sit with yourself, delve into those uneasy questions, and truly connect with who you are. By doing so, I've found a deeper connection with myself, something invaluable in today's fast-paced world. Others will always find tasks for you unless you carve out what's truly meaningful for you."

EMPAUA’s sabbatical program

At EMPAUA, we deeply value a people-first culture, emphasising the holistic well-being and growth of our team members. Our sabbatical program stands as a testament to this commitment.

We believe that individuals flourish when given the space to reflect and soak up new impressions, and this is a unique opportunity for team members to pursue more of their own passions and dreams that are not work-related. As Theresa remarked: "I think a sabbatical program is a very nice way to offer a downtime to employees to recharge and fulfill dreams that most people stash up for retirement.”

It's also our way of appreciating the relentless dedication and hard work our employees invest in EMPAUA. Echoing her gratitude, Theresa further shared, "All in all, the sabbatical is a wonderful way to appreciate employees. I am very thankful that EMPAUA offered it and made it happen." Through programs like this, we embrace the principles of a teal organization, encouraging everyone to bring fresh inspiration and perspectives. These experiences will enrich our culture, fostering deeper connections among all PAUArangers beyond the roles they hold.

Check below to see more pictures from Theresa's sabbatical. If you want a deeper dive into her incredible journey and to draw inspiration from her adventures, check out her personal website.

To see open positions at EMPAUA please visit our career page.


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