Do you find yourself, shooing away the thought of taking a sabbatical every time it comes to your mind? Is it because you’re doing really well at your company, despite the burnout? Or do you fear all the hard work and dedication that you’ve put in so far, to achieve a certain designation, will go in vain? Or are you concerned about how your company and colleagues might judge you? Worse still, how will you answer when a prospective interviewer questions your career gap!
Relax. Take a deep breath. You’re human and it’s only natural for humans to take a pause. Without guilt or fear. Even machines are turned off from time to time. The only apology you need to make is to yourself, for not being honest with yourself, for ignoring that burning desire to take the much-needed sabbatical. In 2018, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported that about 15% of employers were offering sabbaticals to their employees. That number is on the rise. In a post-pandemic world, where the ‘Great Resignation’ has shaken the tenets of a typical work environment by workers worldwide, many companies are offering sabbaticals for employee retention, especially to retain their top talent. Monzo, a U.K based, fin-tech company is giving its staff 3-4 month sabbaticals, every three to four years. Citigroup rolled out a 12-week sabbatical in 2021 for employees with five-year tenures. In 2020, PwC started offering one to six-month leave of absence at 20% pay. More companies are following suit because the disenchantment of workers is here to stay for a while. Better pay, work-life balance and job fulfillment are the primary reasons stated. So you see, the stigma around sabbaticals is reducing and how. To understand the transformative power of a sabbatical, first let’s understand what it means.
What is a Sabbatical?
It is an extended period of leave from work, that an employee takes for either professional or personal reasons. It could be to pursue further studies or a hobby, to travel, to volunteer, attend to one’s health, spend time with family or on self-improvement. Traditionally given to professors, once a year every seven years to take a break from teaching, the ‘sabbatical years’ allowed them to do further research or just take time off. Read on to know why taking a sabbatical can work beautifully in your favour in the long run.
5 Benefits of taking a Sabbatical
1. You can understand yourself better as person
When you take that much needed pause, you’ve more time to deeply reflect upon your thoughts and intentions. Which in turn, helps you understand your core values better. It’s not an overnight process but every time you say ‘no’ to something that doesn’t serve you, you connect better with yourself. Often when we feel lost in our professional journeys, it’s because we lose that connect with ourselves. Our personal and professional journeys are interconnected. So one can only imagine how re-establishing that connect from time to time, will later work in one’s favour.
2. You can grow as a professional
Opting to study further or pursue a degree while on your time off, is the best investment that you can make in your professional growth. In a Digital world, ‘Upskilling’, is the need of the hour. For example, as a Graphic Designer, you can add to your technical prowess by learning a new software. That will automatically give you an edge once you get back or enhance your chances of recruitment by some other employer looking for a particular skill set. Volunteering while on your time-off, can teach you more about empathy. Which might help you work with emotional intelligence and enhance your managerial capabilities.
3. You can broaden your perspective
Nothing could be better than traveling while on a sabbatical! Meeting new people. Trying new food. Immersing yourself in new cultures. Learning a new language. All these and more, could infuse a fresh zeal of life in you. One that allows you to see things from a new perspective. You realise you’re more than just an employee cooped up in cubicle. You’re ready to embrace life and all the eclectia it has to offer! This ‘enriching exposure’ can help you bring new enthusiasm and energy back to work.
4. You can be more productive and creative
When you’re no longer operating in a familiar environment every day, doing the expected, you start detaching yourself from the mundane. Out of an office cubicle, you genuinely start doing some out-of-the-box thinking. For example, you might think of an unconventional idea to boost the sales of a product or service. Such new insights could be very valuable to you and your team, should you decide to get back.
5. You can explore a new direction, altogether
Are you continuing doing something because you’re good at it? Wouldn’t you rather do something that you truly enjoy? These are just some of the pertinent questions that a sabbatical might have answers to. By releasing you from the pressure of ticking off items off your job-list day in and day out, a sabbatical, gives you an opportunity to self-reflect, reassess and re-evaluate your career choices. Which in turn, can lead you to change your career trajectory altogether. In that sense, a Sabbatical can be a complete blessing in disguise.
According to a key finding in the global consultancy, PwC’s ‘Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey’ of more than 52,000 workers in 44 countries and territories, carried out in March 2022, globally one in five workers, will be planning to quit in 2022. There you go. More and more people are opting for career choices more agreeable to them. So if you want to take that sabbatical, go ahead. Needless to say, such decisions are easier to take, if you’re single and free from any financial liabilities. Should you want to get back to your job after a break, there are ways to do so. That would require a separate conversation though.
By the way, if you’re currently on a sabbatical and happen to be reading this, we have just the opportunity for you to stay connected with your field remotely, without getting overwhelmed. Interested? Then check out the happy job portal, ‘Pluck your Day’. It’s where an advanced AI will match your skills to a myriad of interesting job opportunities, across diverse categories with the utmost transparency and regard for your time and effort. Pluck flexibility, short-term or long-term projects. Pluck peace of mind over anxiety. Pluck sanity over senseless deadlines. Pluck better health over burnouts. Pluck better work opportunities over empty promises. It is where change is happening for good.
Take the pause. Discover more with Pluck your Day!