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Personal Retreat December 26, 2006

Posted by Matsu in Family, Management, Photography.
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Many years ago I read that early on in Bill Gates’ career he began to take two weeks out of each year for a personal retreat. In that time, he would get away from work and everything else just to reflect on life and work and ponder things he didn’t normally think about. He would also take several books to read during his getaway.

Now, I am not certain if what I read about Bill Gates and his personal retreat back in the 1980’s was actually true, but I have done it (taken some time off to be alone) almost every year for the past fifteen years. It has been a great help. Most of the years I have taken a few days off (away from work and home) during the week following Christmas. I have worked in higher education (i.e. colleges and universities) for almost 20 years and so I almost always have automatic time off because the most schools close and nobody works that week. And, when I’ve needed to, I have taken vacation leave that had to be used.

Tomorrow, I leave for my personal retreat. It’s not quite the same as normal, as I won’t be totally alone. My son will be with me, which is not bad. I will still have plenty of time to read and write as I reflect on the year just past as well as consider the year ahead of me. And, as usual, I will get plenty of rest, read a lot, and eat some of my favorite foods.

Oh, I will also spend time outdoors enjoying what God has created and capture as much as I can on digital film. Outdoor photography is a great source of enjoyment for me. I will post a few pictures on my Flickr account when I return to civilization (where I am going, there is no Internet access, at least not for my laptop… my PDA doesn’t really count, does it?).

It is good to step back and get away from it all to reflect on things. I highly recommend it for everyone, but especially I.T. managers who work day in and day out with very little time to stop and truly think. I advise all of you who read this to take time to just stop, rest, and think. That’s my agenda for the rest of the year.

Footnote:  After a quick Google search on “Bill Gates retreat” I discovered this article which describes his twice-yearly week-long retreats. The purpose of his retreat, it turns out, is to read technology reports and ponder the furture direction of Microsoft. That is  not the purpose of my retreat.

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