In May 2021 I had several conversations with colleagues, who had recently returned from a sabbatical or were in the process of planning one. The idea stuck with me and after a while I decided to get the paperwork started. My rationale back then was that one year later I would have gone through a fairly exhausting project and also would have hit almost 7 years with the company. Both good reasons to take a break.
In case you’re not familiar with the concept:
A sabbatical has also come to mean a lengthy, intentional break from a career. The popularity of sabbaticals for non-academics has increased in the 21st century: 17% of companies offered some sort of sabbatical policy to their employees in 2017, according to a survey by the Society For Human Resource Management. There are very few norms and expectations for non-academic, or professional, sabbaticals. They can be paid or unpaid, affiliated with one’s employer or self-directed, and have a variety of durations, from several weeks to over a year.Wikipedia: Sabbatical
In my case I could pick between different models with my employer and decided on saving 20% of my salary for 12 months and then taking off 3 months, while I would continue to receive 80% of my salary.
Now that the “saving period” is over, my Sabbatical has started on July 1st. And even though the project I had planned for turned out much less exhausting, I’m still super happy that I had the foresight to set up this break for myself. Throughout the past months and years I have piled up quite a few fundamental questions that I struggle to answer in my daily routine. Here is a small taste for the kind of questions I mean:
- Is the place work has in my life okay?
- Do I want to stay in my current industry?
- Is being a team lead the right occupation for me?
- What is my next career step?
As expected, a lot of them center around work and the infamous “work life balance”. There are also a few more that are a bit more personal. If stepping away from work for a while will help me with those remains to be seen.
I have been thinking about how to make the most out of these three months. My plans changed a lot in the year leading up to it. In the end, I actually did not make any concrete plans as that turned out to be too difficult. Because I’m not sure what to expect or what exactly I want and need.
There is a high risk that time keep rushing by and I find myself at the end of my Sabbatical empty-handed. Here are a few things I want to try to avoid this:
- I will try to post regular updates here, mostly as a recollection for myself, but also as source of motivation.
- One of my goals is to be more active, so I’ll focus on squeezing in some kind of physical activity at least every other day.
- Any private considerations or insights I will record in my private journal, which I usually neglect way too much.
- Whenever possible, I will try to take at least one photo of everything I’m doing.
- I want to do a couple of smaller vacations during the 3 months (e.g. city trips).
Wish me luck. 😉