Everything You Need to Know About Sabbatical

There are two kinds of people – those who like their jobs and those who don’t. No matter which one of these groups you belong to, the idea of taking a sabbatical will sooner or later cross your mind. It is a wonderful opportunity to finally get some well-deserved rest from work. The thing you need to consider is whether you should think of sabbatical as a break from work. Can it be something more than that?

What Is a Sabbatical?

Before we continue, let’s find out what the term really means. It is derived from the word “sabbath” and means the necessity of people having rest from time to time. It is impossible to maintain the same level of enthusiasm and deliver impressive results without taking a moment to relax and reflect. If your dream is to stay away from your workplace as long as possible, your job probably does not bring you the amount of joy and satisfaction it should. It might be due to the burnout and accumulated fatigue.

What sabbatical means is taking a long break (not a usual vacation) from work to get the energy you lack. Some use this time to do something they’ve always wanted to – learning foreign languages, traveling around the world, starting a business. Others spend time with their friends and family and try to improve their professional skills. The final goal is what matters.

What do you want to get from these months of not going to work?

Do you want to change your vocation and start building a career elsewhere?

Or you need to find new ideas to become a better professional?

Ask yourself these questions before committing to the idea of taking a sabbatical as it is a huge decision to make.

What Taking a Sabbatical Really Means?

Taking a sabbatical is not useful only to employees. If you negotiate the terms of getting back to work after the extended leave with your company, it will benefit from your new ideas and energy. It is a chance to stop running in circles and find the effective solutions to the old problems. You need to get rid of the perception that sabbaticals make no economic sense for employers. Having worked for a company for many years, you are a valuable asset. Meeting your needs is more efficient than hiring someone new and train them and many companies understand that. Keep that in mind while pitching the idea to your boss. Meanwhile, here are some of the questions you might have and the answers to them to get you ready:

How do I ask for a sabbatical?

The best way to pitch this idea to your boss is not to focus on the negative part of you being burnt out and tired. Instead, present the benefits of you getting new skills and leading new projects.

Is sabbatical paid?

It all depends on your negotiation process with the top management. Some companies will have nothing against saving your remuneration during this time period. Do not forget that you will need a long term traveler’s and health insurance if you plan to live in another country.

Where do I get the money to travel during my sabbatical?

In case you don’t manage to negotiate a paid sabbatical, you will need to make sure you have enough resources to live without a stable income for some time. Remember that taking a sabbatical should not be a spur of the moment decision. You have to get prepared for it and start saving in advance.

Is it available only to those who’ve worked many years at one company?

In most cases, it is but yours can be an exception. If you prove that you are a valuable employee and that taking a sabbatical is something that will make you more effective, you might get the approval from the management.

Is it required that you spend this time on the activities related to your profession?

You can do whatever you want. This is a chance to challenge yourself with new adventures. We all get used to the same daily routine and get stuck within our inner dialogs. Do something that will help you discover new horizons.

Which companies offer sabbatical?

  • Accenture
  • Adobe
  • American Century Investments
  • Alston & Bird
  • American Express
  • T. Kearney
  • Autodesk
  • Baker Donelson
  • Birchbox
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Boston Consulting Group
  • Capterra
  • CDW
  • Centro
  • Charles Schwab
  • David Weekley Homes
  • Deloitte
  • Dow Jones
  • eBay
  • Edelman
  • Edward Jones
  • Emma
  • Federal Express
  • General Mills
  • Google
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Hallmark
  • Hyland Software
  • IBM
  • Infosys
  • Intel
  • Intertech
  • Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
  • McDonald’s
  • MEC
  • MeetUp
  • Men’s Wearhouse
  • Microsoft
  • Morgan Stanley
  • MorningStar
  • Nike
  • Nordstrom
  • PayPal
  • Perkins Coie
  • Plante & Moran
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Principled Technologies
  • Quad/Graphics
  • QuikTrip
  • Rackspace Hosting
  • Rally Software
  • Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI)
  • Renewable NRG Systems
  • Republic Bancorp
  • Robert W. Baird
  • Ruby Receptionists
  • Russell Investments
  • Ryan
  • Salesforce
  • SAP
  • Jude Children’s Research Hospital
  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • The Container Store
  • The Motley Fool
  • Thoughtworks
  • Timberland
  • VMware
  • Waggener Edstrom
  • Wegman’s

Sabbatical Ideas to Have the Time of Your Life

The options of what you can do are limitless. Here are the top 3 choices:

Traveling. Seems like an obvious choice as we all love to travel. The goals might differ, though. Some will travel to lay on the white sand and listen to the ocean, others will prefer volunteering or working as an English teacher somewhere in Asia.
Learning. Ever wanted to learn Japanese? Or maybe singing is your calling but you’ve always been too shy? This is the time to discover the hidden talents.
Becoming an entrepreneur. If you are tired of working for someone else and would prefer having your own business, why not give it a try? Most probably you won’t be able to combine your work with the new startup. Sabbatical is the opportunity to get through the most difficult stages of building a new business and see where it will lead you.

“I spent 6 months living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I’ve always wanted to learn how to dance the tango. So, I decided that Argentina would be the best place to do it. Like they say if you want to learn how to do something, learn from the best. I must say it was an amazing experience. I feel more confident and have so much energy to put into my projects! My advice to everyone is not to be afraid of turning your dreams into reality. It is definitely worth it.”
Lisa Carter from BookwormHub.com

“I think we all have that little dream that always gets postponed for the better times. Mine was opening a small cafe. I went to Italy during my sabbatical and mastered the basics of cooking from talented chefs there. Now I have my own business where I can cook and be happy every single day. I can’t say that I did not enjoy being a graphic designer but I enjoy having a cafe much more. Luckily, I can combine these two passions of my life after going on sabbatical.”
Peter Paulson from Deloitte