How Can a Sabbatical Improve Our Career?

Very often our working hours and conditions leave us exhausted and wanting to get away from it all. But, most of the time, this is not a possibility. Even when we are on vacation or off work, disconnecting completely and relaxing may not seem like a plausible choice. Therefore, many of us consider taking a sabbatical.

But what is a sabbatical? It is not a holiday or maternity leave. It is a period, considered long (usually 3 months to 12 months), in which we are not working. However, after it, we have the chance of returning to the position/function we had before this period. Typically, people take these periods with a goal, which can be as simple as resting and refocusing.

But the reason behind sabbaticals can go far beyond resting and focusing. It depends on each person, as well as the activity one chooses to pursue. Many workers focus on volunteer work, research/education or even on travelling. More than knowing why and what to do, it is mandatory to draw up a plan in advance. It is not an easy decision to stop working, probably not receiving a salary and completely changing our routine. Another key decision about this period is to decide if one wants to make this trip alone or with friends/family/etc. But once again, it all depends on each one of us.

As we said before, a sabbatical year normally implies that workers will not receive a regular salary. Thus, it is vital that when thinking about doing one, we evaluate whether we have financial support. Using our savings or asking for a grant can also be a solution. However, some companies allow employees to take sabbaticals and pay them a part of the salary. In addition, these periods can be good opportunities to pursue activities that can generate some income and encourage us to start a business.

On the other hand, workers must inform their employer about their wish to take a sabbatical. Next, they must manage with the organisation’s leaders/managers how their tasks/projects/role will be accomplished during the period. Trying to find someone suitable for the job and giving them training or even delegating tasks to other colleagues can be crucial.

All things considered, a sabbatical can be crucial to work on ourselves and understanding exactly what we want from our lives and careers. It will be a way to enrich our experiences and discover new things (languages, cultures, places, etc). This period can be an opportunity for employees to rest and recharge, which helps workers achieve work-life balance, which obviously favours companies. All of this will not only strengthen our creative side but also help us be more productive/effective at work and improve our skills/abilities. Sabbaticals may have risks, but its benefits seem to outweigh them.

References:

  1. 7 Ideas for Sabbaticals That Will Recharge You for Success, July 2019, Entrepreneur
  2. What is a sabbatical? … and why you should take one, October 2019, THRIVE GLOBAL
  3. The No. 1 Reason Why Employers Should Let Employees Take Sabbaticals, Backed by Research, February 2019, Inc.