I thought I would share my thoughts around taking time off when you are paid to work in a community setting. I’m fortunate enough to be paid by Red Hat to work in the Fedora community, and I think the way I approach time off confuses some people (In both the community and the company).

On the company side, the understanding for “time off” (or pto (“paid time off”)) is that you will not work on work items and will go relax or do other things you enjoy and then come back recharged and ready to work again. All the companies I have worked for have been good on that understanding, but the problem for me is that “things I enjoy” also happens to include working on (some) things in the community. Sometimes people get very emphatic about people on pto not ‘working’. I’ve even heard suggestions from people of removing access to force people to not work, or being berated for chiming in on something when they are supposed to not be working. When I am on pto, I only do those things in the community that I enjoy. This still lets me relax and have time away from meetings and tasks I don’t enjoy but have to do normally, etc. It gives me the choice of what I find relaxing and/or enjoyable.

On the community side of things, things are more murky and depend, I think, on how things are communicated. If you tell the communty “hey, I am going on vacation, I will not be around”, most are understanding. I try and convey that I am not ‘working’ and might or might not be able to do things. The default expectation should be that I am not around, and if I am and help with something, great, if not be patient and someone else will help out, or I will when I get back. Of course when folks expect you to be around all the time and you suddenly aren’t that can cause some extra pings and communication.