Would You Take a Career Sabbatical?
September 15, 2014
In the last few years, there has been a lot of attention given to the idea of lifestyle design. As part of this attention, more people are taking career sabbaticals or embarking on “mini retirements.”
The idea is that you don’t have to work for thirty or forty years, only to try and retire for another twenty or thirty years, while your health might be in decline. Instead, the idea is to work for a few years, and then take extended time off for a year or two before going back to work.
To a certain extent, this is something that has been somewhat common in the academic world. My husband is a college professor, and he has colleagues that go on sabbatical to further their research, write books, or engage in other activities.
These days, though, you don’t have to be in academia to take a break from your job. If you plan it right, you can take a sabbatical from almost any job, and get back into things after you’ve had a break.
How Long is Your Break?
Your first job is to figure out how long you want your break to last. Some workers choose to take as little as six months off, while others might go on sabbatical for as many as five years.
How long your break lasts depends largely on whether or not you have the financial resources to make it happen, as well as what you plan to do when you are ready to return to work. In some cases, your employer might be willing to allow you to leave work for one or two months and then come back to your job, but you might not be able to stay away for a year.
You also might not have the financial resources to take a long sabbatical. Instead, you might have to limit your break to the size of your bank account.
Will You Earn Money While on Sabbatical?
Of course, you can augment your financial resources with income, depending on what you do while on your break. Perhaps you want to act as a consultant while you are taking your mini retirement or while you start a side business. Earning money while you are taking your mini retirement can help you extend it, and it can also provide you with a “resume filler” to use if you don’t want it to look like you’ve had a long break in your work history.
Do You Plan to Return to the Same Career Field?
Another consideration is whether or not you plan to return to the same career field. Perhaps part of your sabbatical involves retraining so you can start a new career. If you take a long break, you will probably have to find a new job regardless of whether or not you change career fields. Carefully consider the logistics of this before you make your choice.
In the end, a sabbatical can provide you with a way to enjoy your life now, during your healthy working years. If you have to work longer later, it isn’t as bothersome if you’ve had the chance to take mini retirements along the way.
So, would you take a career sabbatical? How do you think you might benefit? Leave a comment!
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