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Should You Take a Sabbatical From Your Career?

Taking a sabbatical from our career is a decision that can keep us up all night wondering the what if. We consider both sides of the coin and think of ways they might affect our future. Whether it shall be a productive one or just leave you with a lot of questions, is a debate that you can’t win. It’s a choice that we make to rediscover, relearn or to simply grow from the current scenario.

If you need a break longer than what your leaves can cover, sabbatical could be your answer. It’s a way to gain new experiences, meet new people, research about ideas or to purely find a new direction to move your life in. There are many people who have come back with a fresh perspective to their workplaces, while some move on to start something new.

If you’ve decided to take a sabbatical or just about ready to drop your papers for it, there has to be a clear idea behind it. It’s not only about taking a break, but creating a plan of what would you rather do in that time. Some choose to study, to pursue their interests or even to travel, it’s a goal you create to achieve the most out of the time. Depending on the time period that you’re thinking of, from 3 months to a year or more, is a decision you make at the beginning of the journey.

Here are a few points that you should keep in mind before making this decision:

  1. Write down the reason behind and pros and cons of taking the sabbatical. Whether it’s about broadening your horizon, starting up a new business or coming back to back in 3 months, it all has to be considered.
  2. Create a plan for your finances whether it’s to travel or join a course, for which you’ll have to save beforehand and not completely overstep your comfort zone.
  3. Create a plan for things you’d like to achieve during that time period. If you’ll be travelling, your bookings have to be cleared or if you’re joining a course you should already be enrolled and if you’re planning to start something new, have a direction for the same.
  4. Discuss about the idea with people who have taken a sabbatical as well as with people who planned but opted out on the same. It’s good to know about both perspectives and base your decision accordingly.
  5. Another addition to the list shall be talking about the sabbatical with your seniors and your HR regarding the processes that shall be involved once you return back from the same.

However where there are advantages, there are always risks too. Returning from a sabbatical pushes you behind with the job position you held, while your peers have moved ahead. A process of relearning, taking roles that are available in the department are some of the issues that you might face in your organisation. A sabbatical may also leave you in a slower promotional cycle or less bargaining powers with your seniors regarding roles you’d like to take.

There shall always be consequences to the decisions that we make. Whether we make a good call or a bad one, or do absolutely nothing at all, there shall be a result for the same. Taking a sabbatical is a decision that depends on the necessity of it. If you feel stagnated in your current environment or would like to start a business on your own, or just about ready to grow from your current circumstance, it’s a choice that you can make.


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