I’d just finished my first year at Suki, when our CEO Punit announced the employee sabbatical program, giving team members marking their fourth anniversary with the company a paid month off. The idea of having a whole month off seemed amazing. Having taken my sabbatical in 2022, I can attest to how awesome the benefit is, and I still feel like I'm reaping the benefits. It felt like the vacation of a lifetime, and underlined what I appreciate the most about being a Sukini.
Seeing the need for innovation
My healthcare career began a decade ago, as an ER scribe in a busy emergency room in California’s Central Valley. Our hospital was a Level II Trauma Center, so we never knew what we were going to see from one day to the next. During the flu season, we’d treat up to 400 patients a day. We also saw trauma patients, like someone who fell while hiking at Yosemite National Park.
While the shifts were often nonstop busy from start to finish, being able to work closely with so many great clinicians was rewarding. But I noticed that the doctors often spent more time interacting with screens than with patients, which extended their workday by many hours. I saw the daily stress they faced and how tired they were.
When I heard about Suki from former co-workers. I was excited to join a start-up building meaningful technology that addresses the overwhelming administrative burden that clinicians face.
The trip of a lifetime
I’ve been working since I was 16 years old, and I’ve never had 5 weeks off in a row. So when it was time to start planning my sabbatical, I was excited.
We’re a small team, so I appreciated how supportive my manager Sam was as we planned the time off. He helped me make it happen and also made sure that I didn’t check email while I was gone and uninstalled Slack from my phone, so I wouldn’t be tempted to check in. Having the support from my team made it really feel like I could relax while I was gone.
With COVID-19, I hadn’t taken much time off over the last couple of years. The longer vacation gave us a chance to get inspired by more places and spend more time with friends and family. My partner Maryse was born in Scotland, and we knew we wanted to start our trip there, visit her family, and explore the Highlands. Our friends in Munich had recently given birth to their first son, and we got to meet him and visit the city. We also caught up with old friends from high school in Croatia and Switzerland. Along the way, we rode a Looney Tunes-themed ferry in Italy, visited a museum in Munich where we were surrounded by fog “sculptures,” and traveled on an Italian bullet train at 155 mph. (We live in foggy San Francisco, so it did almost feel like the fog followed us to Europe.)
One of the highlights of our vacation was our two-day stay in Cernobbio, a beautiful small town on Lake Como in Italy. We attempted to eat as much Italian food as we could in a 48-hour window. At the end of our trip, we flew to Paris and came across a cute boutique hotel in the 3rd Arrondissement. When we saw the name—Hotel Sookie—we decided we had to stay there. I even brought back a “Sookie” coffee cup for the office.
In all we went to 6 countries and traveled by plane, train, boat, ferry, bike, and car. We created so many special memories, and I came back recharged and totally relaxed. My friends have told me they think the sabbatical program is an amazing employee benefit, and I couldn’t agree more.
I appreciate that our team makes a point to celebrate milestones, whether it’s Champagne to mark your first year with the company, a quilted vest for your third year (which I wear all the time in our chilly, foggy neighborhood!), or an extended break from work in year four. Small or big, these moments remind us that we’re connected in our mission to bring joy back to medicine.
Opportunities at Suki
If you want to make a difference for healthcare providers and patients while being part of a talented team, Suki may be the next stop on your career journey. Visit our Careers page to learn more.