Sabbatical resources

lifestyle design — By on April 29, 2008 at 2:09 pm

I’ve promised more coverage on the topic of sabbaticals (or career breaks), so to that end I’ve developed a page on this site devoted to the topic of life sabbaticals. An excerpt:

Who is taking sabbaticals?

Sure, college professors have always been able to take a sabbatical, but what about the rest of us? You’d be surprised at the number and types of people who are taking extended time off from work these days. Such as:

*          Workers who can take a leave of absence from their job. One out of every four or five companies offer some sort of sabbatical policy for their employees, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, a statistic that has remained remarkably steady since the mid-1990’s. About two-thirds of these policies are for unpaid absences and one-third provide for a paid leave. Even if you’re not lucky enough to work for one of these companies, individuals who have been at the same job for several years can often negotiate individually for time off.

*          People who are between jobs. If you are leaving one job and have another one lined up for some weeks or months down the road, or if you don’t mind the uncertainty of being between jobs, this is a good opportunity to take some time to relax and recharge before beginning the next chapter in your life. Some individuals, in fact, plan a series of “mini-retirements” throughout life.

*          Students who are on a “gap year.” This has always been popular with Europeans and Australians and is becoming more common among U.S. university students. This year off may take place prior to starting a college career, after graduating, or sometime in between. The point is to take some time away from studies in order to have a more diverse educational or life maturing experience.

What are the personal benefits?

– We all get tired and stressed from the challenges of work and life. This time away gives us a chance to rest and recharge for the next chapter in our lives.

– Everyone can benefit from having extended time to reflect and, if desired, to redefine who we are or what we want to do.

– Many people dream of traveling, but these adventures usually require a period of time that is longer than an average vacation. A sabbatical, however, provides the time necessary for an extended trip.

– Our families often lose out to the urgency of daily life and to-do lists. Time away from a job can give us an opportunity to reconnect with children, spouses and parents, whether we take this time at home or on a joint adventure together.

– Often, we’d like to focus on a new skill or hobby, but the thought of fitting this into our already crowded lives usually means that we just never get around to it. A sabbatical gives us the freedom to grow and develop in new ways.

There is more information on the sabbatical page, including the benefits to companies that offer sabbaticals, a list of ideas to inspire you, and links to books and websites about the topic.

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