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6 Essential Tips for Taking a Sabbatical

Are you going through a phase of life where you feel your work-life is completely off the track and you need a break from your routine? You feel suffocated with things around you and there is too pressure on you.

If that’s you, it might just be time for a sabbatical. That is, a time for a short career break so as to return back to work with a fresh state of mind. A sabbatical can have amazing results for you if you are seriously looking at your personal and professional development.

Although it is not easy to take this call, here are some tips for you to follow to help you on your journey if you are ready to take the plunge:

1. What is Your Reason?

What you must know is that you need a good reason to get a free pass off work for your time. It doesn’t happen by simply thinking of a long holiday. There has to be a well-defined reason for you to take time off like it could be ticking something off your bucket list. The reason could be to do a skill enhancement course, volunteer in a developing or underdeveloped country or teach students. Basically, you need to make a productive use of the time you take off.

2. What is Your Company Policy?

This has to be one of the few steps that need to be done before you even think about planning your sabbatical. You need to check with your HR and maybe go through your employment contract to check if there is any restriction regarding extended breaks. Bottom line, you must thoroughly understand the terms and conditions before you may even think about approaching your manager to ask for an extended number of leaves.

In case your manager is ready to sanction your leave, you might also want to ask about benefits, if there are any, that you may still claim while you are on sabbatical.

3. Speak to Your Heart

Running away is never an option. Talking to your own self is always the best solution. Think deep about what you truly want and what it is that will give you more happiness. Ask yourself again and again if you are really burned out and need some time off? Or, it could be you need time off to explore more fulfilling work options?

While you must never give up on your dreams, you must not also consider running away as a solution to escape from your problems.

4. Are There Enough Savings?

Taking time off means you need to have enough savings to survive during all those months when there will be no pay-cheque finding your way every month. Planning for the same must start quite early so as to ensure there are no financial problems later on as they may make you regret your decision. You might just want to start saving more and cut down your expenses or scan through a list of freelancing gigs or part-time work options that you may wish to do during your time-off.

Read Also: 7 Key Professional Skills You Gain From Work Experience

5. Fix a Timeline

If you are thinking about the sabbatical, it generally applies that you are worn down and you are thinking of different ways to put an immediate end to your misery. It is, however, not a good idea to call off and quit everything the moment the idea of a sabbatical comes to your mind. The best thing to do is to set a date and try not to make any changes to it. By doing so, you will be in a better position to analyze if you really need this break or not.

6. Exit Strategy

You think of a time-off and go on a leave from the next day itself. Things don’t work like that. You need to plan your leave well in advance and there are a series of steps to be performed:

  • Finish your pending tasks.
  • Make a convincing proposal to your boss.
  • Brief your colleagues on your on-going work so that someone can take over your job role without any effect on company’s productivity.
  • Create a roadmap for your journey ahead and start making arrangements for the same.

Finally, this initial preparation is important and must not be avoided in case you don’t want to fall yourself into a dangerous zone from which there might not be any comeback.