I enjoy getting lost in work. I mean, really enjoy it. I forget to eat and sleep, especially when developing software. There is something addicting about building an MVP as fast as possible, finding the perfect architecture, refactoring your previous hacks, and eventually making your code observable and running smoothly. Whenever I take a vacation, I find myself not really taking time off, however. I’ll hack on other projects, “be around,” and I already find myself working before the holiday ends.
Since two weeks of “kind of vacation” are not healthy, I have taken up the habit of taking all of December off in the past few years. Considering the new year’s break, this usually amounts to 5 or 6 weeks of vacation. Every year starts by scheduling the next December break and setting reminders to tell my colleagues I won’t be around.
Come December, the first two weeks are the hardest. Work is still on my mind, and I need to make a conscious effort to disconnect. After two weeks, it’s hard for me to remember that I still have a job. I start getting into other passions, like urban design, photography, and cooking. Every week after that just contributes to the “great mental reset.”
After the vacation, I usually spend the first few weeks with impostor syndrome. I miss even the biggest news in the Ethereum security space around December and spend a considerable time asking myself whether I’m still fit to be a security auditor. It takes one or two weeks of diving back in to regain confidence in my skills. Software engineers are often humbled by blaming the compiler for the issues they caused, just to be taught a lesson once they wrap their heads around the issue. Security auditors, being service providers and mostly reading code, don’t have that luxury.
Having a prolonged period off, followed by a few weeks of slight impostor syndrome while catching up, feels like a healthy practice to stay down to earth. The Ethereum space is moving fast, and the boundaries of what’s possible are pushed daily. Whether you, my fellow reader, are in a similar situation or not, consider taking some time off and focusing on how great it can feel to unplug for a while. I wish you all the best!