What is a Sabbatical?

Sure, it’s easy to find people who dislike their job and want to quit and take a career break to travel the world. However, what if you actually like your job, but you are exhausted, feeling like you’re going nowhere, stuck in a routine, and need to re-energize with a new view and possible new skillsets?

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Often times our job responsibilities just keep growing and growing and soon we are not really doing the things we want to be doing any longer. It’s natural to want to get away – even if you do like your employer and your employer likes you. A vacation won’t solve the problem, you need a real break.

What is Sabbatical Travel?

The term sabbatical actually is derived from the biblical Sabbath which serves an ancient human need to build periods of rest and rejuvenation into a lifetime. Traditionally you’ll find sabbaticals in academic careers, but they are not just for teachers anymore. Anyone can take a sabbatical and travel. A sabbatical is simply getting an extended leave from work to pursue a break. Granted, your company might not have a formal sabbatical program, but you can lead the way in requesting a sabbatical and having them start such a program. You get nothing if you don’t ask.

People traditionally take a sabbaticals to fulfill a goal, build a skill, or do research. You don’t necessarily have to stay near your home to do these things, you can easily travel the world and accomplish your goals; the key is to get away, renew, refresh.

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Sabbatical Myths

Sabbaticals are only granted to people who’ve worked at their company for a long period of time.
Sometimes it simply takes a well researched and persuasive presentation to your employer such as the one Alonna Scott made when asking for and being granted her sabbatical leave.

Sabbaticals activities should directly relate to your job.
Your sabbatical doesn’t have to be strictly about education or training. It can be about pushing your limits or getting in touch with your creative side. Elizabeth and Barbara, a reporter and executive coach respectively took a six-month sailing sabbatical, that had nothing to do with their careers, but helped them grow their skillsets in less direct ways.

Sabbaticals are unpaid.
Some people actually negotiate paid sabbaticals or they negotiate keeping their valuable benefits while they are gone. The ebook Negotiating Your Sabbatical provides advice and tips on how to negotiate a paid sabbatical with your company.

Benefits of a Sabbatical

Sabbaticals can be beneficial to both you and your company. Getting away is essential for creative and new thinking, and can help you build skills, or simply dust off cobwebs and routines in your brain.

In addition, if the alternative to a sabbatical is to quit your job, then that’s not a very good alternative for your employer. The costs for a company to recruit, hire, and train a new person to replace you is very costly. If you simply negotiate a leave for x months, then you come back revitalized. Plus you can pick up where you left off, no new training required!

Taking a sabbatical from your position is the ultimate test in succession planning for your company. If you are gone for a sabbatical they will see how well the rest of the staff is trained to take over in your absence and can then takes steps to improve it.

How can you talk to your employer about taking a sabbatical?
Don’t take it lightly, this is an important discussion that you need to prepare for like any other presentation. Determine how your sabbatical will benefit the company. If you can put it in dollars and cents this will have the biggest impact

Some companies actually already offer sabbatical programs. Just check out these companies who are providing sabbaticals to their employees.

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What Can You Do on a Sabbatical?

Make sure you can translate your experiences into professional gains for yourself and the company. With that in mind, here are a few options, but remember – the world is full of valuable lessons and educational opportunities!

* Volunteering
* Consider visiting countries where your company has operations or partners. Learn about the culture and immerse yourself. If you are in IT, maybe you visit companies that your employer outsources with (India, Philippines)
* Learn a skill or language
* Do something creative such as paint, write, or do photography.

Sabbatical Resources

If you are merely intrigued with the idea of sabbatical travels or are salivating to take one, there are a growing number of resources to help you plan and prepare for a sabbatical. They come in many different forms with different levels of your commitment and involvement required.

Basic Training – As an online travel course and community, Basic Training connects you with reliable resources, expert voices, and like-minded peers – all of which will lead you to getting on a plane and taking a sabbatical.

Reboot Your Life – Energize Your Life & Career by Taking a Break (book)

Negotiating Your Sabbatical ebook – The Ultimate Toolkit for Writing and Presenting a Killer Sabbatical Proposal Your Boss Can’t Refuse

yourSABBATICAL – YS partners with businesses to implement customized sabbatical programs that attract, retain, and accelerate top talent through personal and professional enrichment.

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