I am taking a sabbatical from my regular professor gig during the 2012 – 2013 academic year — starting right about now.

What a sabbatical is:

A leave granted by my employer, which I am eligible for every seven years (assuming I haven’t engaged in moral turpitude). A sabbatical is designed to provide the recipient greater flexibility to pursue new ideas and travel.

What a sabbatical is not:

A vacation – though it is a break from the more routinized aspects of my job.

What will I not be doing:

Teaching. Many of my service responsibilities.

What I will be doing: 

Finish working the Humor Code, which is due to publisher on December 31, 2012.

Attend “ideas” conferences, notably the 10 Conference and SXSW Interactive (and perhaps others).

Travel to Rotterdam to visit Erasmus University (Fall 2012).

Some bridge in Rotterdam

Put on a few pounds. Seriously.

Start thinking about what my post-Humor Code life might look like. What is the ‘next big thing’?

Read an enormous stack of journals that are piled in my office.

Get several research papers under review.

Travel to Australia to visit the University of Melbourne.

I guess I like cities with interesting bridges.

Will the time away pay off? I think so. The research agrees with me; here is an abstract of some work that looks at the benefits of sabbaticals:

A rigorous quasi-experiment tested the ameliorative effects of a sabbatical leave, a special case of respite from routine work. We hypothesized that (a) respite increases resource level and well-being and (b) individual differences and respite features moderate respite effects. A sample of 129 faculty members on sabbatical and 129 matched controls completed measures of resource gain, resource loss, and well-being before, during, and after the sabbatical. Among the sabbatees, resource loss declined and resource gain and well-being rose during the sabbatical. The comparison group showed no change. Moderation analysis revealed that those who reported higher respite self-efficacy and greater control, were more detached, had a more positive sabbatical experience, and spent their sabbatical outside their home country enjoyed more enhanced well-being than others.

Davidson, O.B., Eden, D., Westman, M., Hammer, L.B., Krausz, M., O’Driscoll, M., Quick, J.C., Cohen-Charash, Y., Kluger, A.N., Maslach, C., Perrewe, P.L., Rosenblatt, Z, & Spector, P.E. (2010). Sabbatical leave: Who gains and how much? Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(5), 953-964.

 Check it out.