A self-avowed extrovert and people-person, Mindy Singleton decided to spend some quality time on her own during her Expedition sabbatical last summer. At WEX for 16 years, currently as a senior strategic portfolio analyst for our fleet line of business, Mindy decided to stay close to her southern Maine home and use the time to do things she’d never done before – and to do them alone.
“When Melissa Smith introduced the sabbatical program at a company meeting, she talked about people using the time to explore themselves,” remembers Mindy. “So much of my life has been centered on doing things for others and working, and I never really allowed time just for myself. I wasn’t someone who went out on my own very often, so this was a chance for me to expand my personal horizons.”
To make the time as productive as possible, Mindy made a list of all the things she wanted to do during her four-week sabbatical. She admits that she was a bit nervous, as doing these activities alone was definitely outside of her comfort zone. At her request, family members treated this break like she was working – meaning no contact from 8am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. A daily journal of her activities was another of Mindy’s strategies designed to help her remember her experiences.
What did Mindy get up to during that month away from the office? After living in her home for 10 years, she finally took the time to walk in the neighboring woods. She explored the islands of Casco Bay on the daily mail boat run. The mornings of one week were dedicated to an art class, where she painted in the park. She even had the chance to go see a movie alone for the first time, as well as spend a few sunny days poolside at her home. Mindy says that doing all of these things alone gave her a new way to experience familiar places and activities.
“During my first week, I was a bit anxious about getting out on my own, but by the time I began my painting classes in the second week, I started really having fun going by myself,” says Mindy. “It was all so refreshing, and by the end of my sabbatical I was missing my job and my work family and ready to get back to WEX.”
Back in the office, Mindy discovered a new level of confidence she didn’t realize she had and a more positive outlook on just about everything. While outgoing by nature, she’s now more comfortable when presenting or speaking in front of a group. “The sabbatical helped me be more comfortable in my own skin and made me a better person and employee,” she remarks.
“My sabbatical also gave me a new outlook on WEX and how much they care about their employees to offer this kind of program,” Mindy says. “When I came back, I was thankful to work for such a great company and my experience made me want to do more for my employer. I’ve been here for 16 years and have always loved the company – now I just love it more!”