Preservation for Success 101: Why Taking a Sabbatical Can Help With Your Ambitious Career Goals
There comes a point in a working professional’s life when the pressures of work just simply gets too much to handle and the individual ends up suffering from a physical, mental, and emotional point of view. If you’re feeling this kind of existential crisis on your own career, then maybe it’s time for you to take a step back and think about how you can reaffirm your passion and commitment to doing the job you love.
When you think about it, you truly can’t perform at a consistently optimal level if your mind, body, and soul isn’t fully charged and working together in harmony. Fortunately, there is a solution for this particular dilemma which can help people in your position feel more confident about themselves and get back on track with their professional lives. The answer to your problems is called a sabbatical, and trust us when we say that it will truly change your life for the better.
Simply put, sabbaticals are basically extended leaves from work which allow people to reassess their career and give them opportunities to explore new things in order to spark the creativity and imagination within themselves. This specific rest period generally lasts for about two months or up to a year at the longest, depending on the individual’s preference. The very concept of a sabbatical has its roots in the Bible, where it is referenced within books contained in the Old Testament.
In today’s parlance, taking a sabbatical is considered ideal because this would give people the necessary time to do the things they’ve always wanted to do but couldn’t because of pressing work obligations and conflicting schedules. Although not all companies or businesses encourage their employees to go on sabbaticals, this is still something you should seriously consider doing if you’ve reached the point where you feel like you’re at a standstill at work and want to see some progress happening.
For most people, the very idea of not working for an extended period of time may seem daunting because of practical reasons, and this is a very understandable concern. Furthermore, not all workplaces can afford or are willing to pay their employees to take really long vacation leaves should they choose to go for it. However, undertaking a sabbatical is truly rewarding and poses very minimal to no risks whatsoever to your professional life if you play your cards just right.
At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter whether the company you work for supports you or not for taking a sabbatical, or if they’re happy to still put you on payroll during your extended work leave or not. The important thing to take away from this experience is to make the most out of your free time and come back feeling refreshed from your personal journey to reinvention. Consider the advice featured below to make your own successful and fulfilling sabbatical happen.
Plan everything ahead of time
The first thing that you need to understand before you seriously decide to embark on a sabbatical is that this is a long-term commitment that will consciously steer you away from any professional obligations. Depending on your company’s employee leave policies, you may or may not be paid to do this kind of career break that lasts longer than the standard two weeks. And make no mistake: you are expected to support yourself once you’re out and about in the world on your journey to rediscover yourself.
This is why it’s absolutely essential that you plan your sabbatical beforehand so that you won’t be struggling when the time comes to actually take a break from your job. Ideally, you must do your planning and research at least a year or more before you decide to start your sabbatical. This is strongly recommended because the extended timeframe will allow you to save up the necessary funds to help you get through your protracted break, as well as making sure that you know exactly what you’re going to do once you’re financially ready to take that plunge.
Be prepared for contingencies
Perhaps the biggest risk that a working professional will face during a sabbatical is the threat of being financially unstable during their break period. You just never know when a sudden emergency might happen and you’re forced to spend more than what you’ve originally planned and you end up getting strapped for cash in the process. This is a scary prospect and one that can be easily avoided if you have a frugal attitude or possess a savvy level of flexibility when push comes to shove. Thus, it’s absolutely imperative that you have a backup plan should contingencies arise during your personal break from work.
It’s better to be prudent in this situation so that you will avoid any possible issues that will threaten the positive energy you’ll be getting from your sabbatical. And we don’t just mean being prepared financially; you must be smart enough to find ways to resolve unexpected situations that don’t involve spending your precious sabbatical funds. When you’re fully armed and ready, then there’s definitely no stopping you from conquering the world.
Get out of your comfort zone
The next thing that you’re going to confront after all the necessary preparations is what you intend to do with all of the free time that you now have in your hands. Freed from the monotonous schedules and demanding obligations at work, you are no longer beholden to such life stressors once you’ve committed yourself to a sabbatical. But while rest and relaxation is definitely part of the program, it’s certainly not the be-all and end-all of your career break. You should be doing things that you’ve always wanted to accomplish in order to achieve that rewarding sense of personal fulfillment.
Better yet, you should at least muster up the courage to really step out of your comfort zone and try out new things that you’d never would dream of doing had you still been beholden to your job. Are you afraid of heights but want to conquer your acrophobia? Think about doing a sky diving trip to shake off those fears in a thrilling way! This is just a great example of how you can really push yourself to become more assertive and open to trying out new and exciting experiences.
Regularly keep tabs at home
Most people who take sabbaticals often go out of town or even travel to other countries as a way to immerse themselves in another world and soak up a brand new culture to help expand their worldviews. If you’re planning on doing the same thing for your own break, then by all means, go out and explore the world! But while this is something that you should definitely be doing, it’s also important that you don’t miss out on what’s happening back home because it’s your responsibility to stay up to date with the latest news and updates from your family, friends, and colleagues.
While some individuals may choose to opt for total and complete disconnection from their lives back home while on a sabbatical, there’s the tendency for them to lose track of whatever is going on at work or with the people in their social circles. Now that we’re living in the age of social media, you should at least make the effort to stay in touch with the people who matter most to you back home, even when you’re enjoying your sabbatical in far-flung places. This way, you won’t ever have to worry about missing out on important information even when you’re not there to witness them.
Discover, learn, and evolve
The beauty about sabbaticals is that they give you so many things to discover now that you have the time and privilege to get acquainted with them on a more intimate level. You would certainly have never found the proper time to do what you’ve always wanted if you chose to remain shackled to your work obligations in the long-term. Don’t waste this unique chance and be enthralled with what the world has to offer to you. To be more specific, it’s ideal for you to learn things that could aid you with your career because one of the key points about sabbaticals is that you’re also using this period in your life to evolve as an individual.
The wisdom you’re likely to gain on your journey will ultimately become additional tools you can use to help you achieve the next phase of your career goals. This could be anything from learning new languages while visiting foreign countries or perhaps signing up as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization. Such examples will help hone your existing talents and allow you to develop new skills which will become part of your assets.
Stay well-equipped for re-entry
Time certainly flies when you’re having fun, and before you know it, your sabbatical is about to end pretty soon and you may feel like you never want to work again now that you’re finally living life to the fullest. However, you must remain grounded in reality and remind yourself that sabbaticals are just temporary; they are intended to be ephemeral moments where you’ll learn important life lessons and come out as an improved version of yourself. That’s why it’s important that you should prepare yourself to return from where you came from and brace yourself for reentry into the workforce.
At this point in time, you may choose to return to your old job or make the conscious decision to find a new job if you feel confident and inspired enough to take that leap of faith. Moreover, it’s important that even when you do come back home after being away for so long, you should never stop the habit of opening your mind to discovering new lessons. Whatever lies ahead in your personal career path, make sure that you sustain your passion and hunger for coming up with new ideas, concepts, or challenges to keep yourself creatively stimulated at all times.
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