When I stepped down from my former position as chief technology officer at Annenberg Innovation Lab, I had many plans for how I would use my free time before I found a new job.  It’s not completely a vacation free from cares.  I still need to find a new job, learn some new skills, follow up on some publications, and sail to Catalina Island, all of which require some work.  Since I’m not getting paid for it, I’m considering it vacation. Still, if I get too laid back I won’t do all that I had planned, so I decided to set some objectives to measure my vacation.  Here are my objectives and how I can measure their successful completion.

  • Get a job.  This is my primary goal for my vacation and if I don’t find a job in about two months I would consider this vacation a failure.  Metrics:  right now I’m looking for something that is primarily interesting and fun work, that is in either LA, the Bay Area, or California in general, working with good people, that ideally has something to do with what I studied (natural language processing), and that pays well (in that order). Outcome:  in progress.
  • Get in touch with friends. Luckily one of the first things I did on my vacation was to go to my high school friend, Scott Hagen’s, wedding so I reconnected with a lot of friends then and while I was home in Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Metrics: the main metric is to get in touch with as many friends as possible and a secondary consideration is being able to meet in person versus just by email or phone.  I guess a bonus point would be if getting in touch with a friend helped land a job. Outcome: in progress.
  • Sail to Santa Catalina Island.  Since I’ve had a boat (about a year and a half), Elly, my fiancee, and I been studying to made the 30 nautical mile trip from Marina Del Rey.  Sailing on the ocean is a lot more involved than on lakes so I’ve been cautious but now that I have more time to read up and practice I’ve been itching to make the trip.  Metrics: safely going and returning from Catalina, time taken, and amount of fun had.  Outcome:  Done!  Last weekend Elly and I successfully made it to Isthmus/Two Harbors.  The outward-bound trip took 10 hours, which was a bit long because we had to divert to Redondo/King Harbor to refuel due to calm winds in the morning.  In the afternoon the wind and swell picked up a lot and we got a bit wet from spray.  On the way back, it took 7 hours because we were more experience and we were in a hurry to beat the mid afternoon turbulence if it came back.   It was calmer on the way back and we had the company of many boats and dolphins.  Overall, it was fun despite some white knuckles and white cap waves.
  • Publications.  While I was working, it was hard to keep up with publishing my dissertation research, so I’m hoping to have time to do that over the vacation. Metrics: finish the one paper I have under revisions and start at least one more. Outcome: in progress.
  • Learning new skills.  One of the things I’ve been wanting to learn is Ruby and Ruby on Rails.  I also want to refresh my knowledge of web technologies about the new additions to html and css and new frameworks for javascript.  Metric: working demos of some projects used to learn these new skills.  Outcome: in progress.
  • Getting into shape.  When things get busy, for me it’s often exercise that gets put on the back burner.  While I’m on vacation I want to exercise more and loose some weight. Metrics:  frequency of exercise, amount of weight lost. Outcome: in progress.
  • Reading. I have a bunch of books that I’ve been reading that I need to finish and others that I want to start. Metrics: how many of the books I want to read that I actually read. Outcome: in progress.