Do you work to live or live to work? Often the lines between the two become blurred. No matter how much we may love our job or how rewarded we may feel by our career initially, it’s not uncommon for people to fall out of love with their jobs, their employers, and their careers way before it’s time to start thinking about retirement. We find ourselves lurching from one day to the next, weeks becoming months becoming years. While we may take comfort from the small things in life like a nice home or car, we feel as though our lives have lost direction. What’s more, time appears to have taken on a new meaning and you’re gaining velocity as you draw closer and closer to the finish line.
You want desperately to hit the brakes, to get back in touch with what’s important and rediscover yourself and your life. Then you find yourself on vacation somewhere idyllic and gorgeous; immersed in an unfamiliar culture, seeing new sights, breathing in new scents and living life outside of your comfort zone. You’re far from the trappings and distractions of your home life and getting back in touch with the real you. You want more of this, a lot more, but you don’t want to turn your back on your old life completely… it sounds like you need a Sabbatical.
The benefits of a sabbatical
A few weeks’ short term sabbatical can be extremely edifying and give you some much-needed perspective on your goals, career, and life. It can help you to remember what’s really important and reignite your passion for life. Even if you choose to return to your old job at the end of it, you can return to work more energized and passionate. But you’ll need to handle it with some finesse if you’re to avoid burning bridgesor leaving yourself seriously out of pocket…
Talk to your employer
Needless to say, extending your vacation, sourcing accommodation elsewhere and simply not showing up to work again will not go over well with your employer or your boss. Talk to them. You may find that the organization you work for has a sabbatical policy. Explain to them your reasons for wanting to take a sabbatical and arrange terms to extend your vacation. You may be surprised by how amenable they are to the idea, even if your workplace does not have a specific policy for sabbaticals.
Know local customs when it comes to sourcing accommodation
If you’ll be staying at your vacation destination for a while, it behooves you to investigate options for a short term rental. Talk to a realtor in your chosen destination. Find out what they can offer in terms of short term rentals and what local customs or legalities may be involved. You may need to send a letter of intent to your prospective landlord. You may have to pay your rent up front. Different countries have different markets so it’s up to you to get to know yours better.
Work out what you need
No two sabbaticals are the same. Your experience may be very different from someone else’s. It’s on you to decide what you need from your sabbatical? Is it just rest and relaxation? Do you want to seek out new experiences, learn new skills or meet new people who will enrich your life. All are great answers. If you decide to take a sabbatical, it’s essential to decide what you want to get out of it!
Plan for your return to your career well in advance
Although the whole point of a sabbatical is to get some rest, a change of scenery and a reaffirmation of who you are outside of your profession and your career, it’s still beneficial to plan a return to your career before you return home. The beauty of living in a digitally interconnected world is that you can start to look for and apply for new jobs if you choose that you won’t be returning to your old one, or get up to speed with events at work so that you can hit the ground running if you do choose to return.
Finally… How will your sabbatical change you?
Whatever you decide to do at the end of your sabbatical, you should also take the time to make some promises to yourself. What will change? How will your sabbatical have broken the cycle for you? Will you take more time to spend with your loved ones? Will you focus more on experiences and less on money and the acquisition of material possessions? It’s entirely up to you, but one thing’s for sure… Going back home should not be a return to norm.
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