Friday, January 16, 2009

Weekend Assignment #251: Fantasy Sabbatical

Hooray! This week, two of you finally took pity on me after weeks and weeks of me begging for suggestions for future topics. Please welcome our first guest "professor," Florinda, assigner of today's Weekend Assignment. (The extra credit is mine.)

Weekend Assignment #251: You have a six-month paid sabbatical, and you can spend it anywhere you like EXCEPT on a beach drinking margaritas. Where do you go, and what do you do while you're there?

Extra Credit:
In real life, have you ever gone anywhere enjoyable at an employer's expense?

Not being fond of either margaritas or lying on the beach, I have no problem at all with Florinda's limitations here. I suppose my own answer to this depends on whether I'm assuming the entity paying my way has employed me as an accountant or as a writer. I would throw in "church webmaster" as a third possibility, but to imagine such largess for so small a service stretches credulity a bit too far. So let's just take the other two paths, and see where they lead, me.

Would researching amusement park accounting in Florida
or UK accounting practices constitute a "Jolly Holiday?"

Okay, then, as an accountant, where could I usefully go on sabbatical? Aside from back to school, there are numerous possibilities, depending on what sort of employer I have. If, for example, I worked for Disneyland (yes, I'd relocate for a high-paying job with them), I could take a sabbatical to Orlando, to observe accounting practices at Walt Disney World and related entities, and research best practices at other Florida attractions. If I worked for an accounting firm, I could conceivably go intern at FASB, the Federal Accounting Standards Board, in Norwalk, CT. Or I could go to London, and research international accounting standards there. Yes, I think I'd like that better!

Or if I were working for a governmental entity, I could go to Washington DC, and observe the new administration's efforts to get the economy back on track, and the accounting implications for various government agencies. The GAO would no doubt be the key component of my researches.

Now, if I could get a publisher to pay me an advance to research a book for six months, that would really be something. I'd definitely try to go to London for that. Perhaps I'd research a Doctor Who interview book, gathering interviews with people who are still alive from the entire history of the show, with side trips to Wales and elsewhere. Or I could write a survey of British children's fiction, and explore the allure of London as a place of magical characters. Heck, I'm sure I could get a book out of selected holdings of the British Museum, or the writing of T.H. White. And yes, I could even explore London as the setting for a novel.

You know, if I had my choice of any of these, I'd take my six months in London, thank-you-very-much!

As for the extra credit, I was fortunate to be a travel agent in the late 1980s, when there was still such a thing as Fam (familiarization) trips. In March 1988 (or was in March 1989?) Travel Tree sent me on a three day whirlwind tour of Anaheim, CA called Anaheim Tag Days. I toured a number of hotels, danced at the Disneyland Hotel, had my picture taken with an Elvis impersonator, visited a wax museum, picked up a zillion brochures in the convention center, and had half a day each at Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm. It was physically and emotionally exhausting, but a lot of fun. A year and a half later or thereabouts, I took another Fam trip, this time to Mazatlan. I think I was actually in Mazatlan for 23 hours, during which time I toured something like ten or fifteen hotels (mostly on foot, in 90 degree, humid weather), held an iguana, ate dinner at a place with a Folklorico show, and had 45 minutes at the beach with a boogie board. Beautiful place, Mazatlan, but by the time I left I could hardly walk due to the killer schedule arranged by the tour company.

I have photos from both of these trips, and if I can find the box they're in I'll post samples sometime over the next week.

So where would you go on sabbatical if you could, and what would you do? Tell us about it in your blog, with a link back to this entry, and leave a link to your entry in the comments below. I'll be back in a week to post the results. Meanwhile...

For Weekend Assignment #250: Hot or Cold?, I asked you whether you'd rather be too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer, if you had to choose one or the other. Here are excerpts from your responses:

Laura said...

Since I'm a redhead, I also don't like sunlight, and winter tends to be cloudier and thus I get sunburned less than in the summer. It definitely feels like New York has been colder and windier this year than in the past.

Florinda said...

To my mind, 80-degree weather does NOT say "January," although I can certainly understand the allure. I spent ten of my growing-up years in Florida and have been in SoCal for almost seven years now, so it's not like warmer winters are unfamiliar to me - it's that they just don't seem right, somehow.

Julie said...

Do I have to pick? I hate the extremes, which is pretty funny considering I live in Texas. My office is too hot in the summer, and too cold in the winter. But I suppose I can pile more clothes on, so I'd reluctantly say winter, though I'll regret it.

Mike said...

As of the last forecast I saw, we are going to be approximately 5 degrees tomorrow and probably won't get above zero Thursday. That's too cold for me. I can handle winter when it is in the 20's and 30's, but once it gets into the teens, I want out.

That's it for now! Assuming nobody sends you out of town this week (or even if they do!), I hope you'll turn up here to tell us your preferred sabbatical project for this Weekend Assignment. And yes, I'm still soliciting your suggestions for future Weekend Assignment topics. Email me your ideas at anytime. If I use your topic you'll get full credit and my undying thanks. And let's have a round of applause for Florinda's great Assignment!



Anonymous said...

I think you need that 6 months. There are a couple of dad's friends whom I'd take in if I had a free 6 months.

barrettmanor said...

So does it count if you're self-employed? I attempt to muse about such things...

Florinda said...

Oh, good. I was starting to worry that no one would work with the topic :-(. Here's my response.

Tall Paul said...

Since it was Florinda's idea, I'm smart enough to know I better do it! Mine is here

Mike said...

Okay, mine is up now. I don't think my employer would pay me to go away, but you never know!