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  • Matthew Young

Taking a Sabbatical? Here’s what you must know.

We all reach that point in our lives where running away to a tropical island or mountain side cabin seems like the only escape from the mundane. Whether it's from overworking, burnout, or simply looking to find a new perspective on life, taking a sabbatical is never a bad idea. There are plenty of modern sabbatical ideas in today's interconnected age. 1 month or 1 year, I predict a sabbatical could do you some real good in such chaotic times.

What is a sabbatical?

If we had to define sabbatical in a sentence, it’s a leave of absence from one’s customary work primarily for rest, or to acquire new skills, training, or education. It generally applies to people who need to detach from a routine or stressful expectations. In some instances, it can be prescribed to address mental health concerns or for medical purposes. We look at it as something everyone should do, much like a gap year, that allows you the freedom to discover your passions in life, or explore new lands.

How to take a sabbatical from work.

The tricky part is that taking a sabbatical isn’t as easy as we all might hope. Unless you’ve been injured on the job, and a work leave is expected, most of us have to either quit our jobs, or negotiate alternative working conditions. However, with the rise in popularity and clear benefits of remote work, modern sabbaticals are becoming more common, and easier to balance with your existing employer. In my own experience from going remote, I was able to negotiate a trade of my yearly raise for the freedom of working remotely. It also allowed to to save a ton of cash by not having to commute anymore, so I ended up getting a raise win win!

How to put your personal sabbatical on a resume.

"Your resume should portray you in the best possible light, so the answer to this question is different for each person," says Linsey Levine, career coach and president of CareerCounsel.

Levine points out that for many people, an unexplained gap could hurt a person's chances of finding a job. "Some employers may even speculate that you were incarcerated or incapable of working if a time period is left unaccounted for on the resume," she says.

But Ford R. Myers, an outplacement expert and president of Career Potential, has this take: "You can turn a potential negative (a gap in employment) into a positive and present yourself as a more knowledgeable and energized employee."

Michelle Dumas, a certified resume writer and executive director of Distinctive Documents, recommends including most sabbaticals on your resume. Dumas has worked with many clients who have taken time off to volunteer, care for a sick relative, write a book or help with a business endeavor. "In nearly all of these cases, we can find a way to present the time off as a positive and show how these activities enhanced the person's qualifications," she says. "Even if the work-history gap was a forced sabbatical, most job seekers can come up with ways in which they stayed productive.”

Family sabbatical ideas

I don’t have children myself, but I do come across traveling parents all the time. Usually with matching backpacks and all piled onto one scooter, it’s a lovely sight to see so many parents exposing their kids to the world. A popular sabbatical idea for your family would be to buy or rent an Rv, Sailboat, or mobile home and travel! This would require you to homeschool the young ones of course, but the knowledge they’d gain from a global education is priceless. If you’re looking for some inspiration, check out these traveling family blogs.

Academic sabbatical ideas

Other than taking time to find and build out your personal development goals, this is an opportunity to learn new skills and practice. You can enroll in online courses (free or paid) or find short term programs at a local academic institution very easily. If you stem from an academic background, this is your opportunity to refine or extend your thesis project. Or, you can conduct new research to bring back with you once you return. There are great organizations that can assist with research based travel and experiences like G Adventures.

Creative sabbatical ideas

Still haven’t figured out what to do while taking a sabbatical? Then maybe you can finally start volunteering! There is so much need for caring volunteers in the world. With global threats like climate change, extreme poverty, and regions lacking proper education, any volunteer work will leave a little impact on the world, and give you an opportunity to appreciate all the things you have. There are plenty of work exchange programs like Work Away, where you can browse opportunities all over the world.

Sabbatical companies

Personally, I admire those that venture out and plan their own trips; there’s a certain sense of pride when you streamline your adventures for your individual needs. However, there are professionals who can probably do a much better job then we can. Below are a few that you should check out. Or, you can join our little work and travel program!

With that, I wish you gook luck on taking a sabbatical! I know you’ll grow from it. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions, we’re happy to help :)

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