Life is not all about work. A sabbatical is a reprieve from the daily grind to enable you to do things that you like, recharge your batteries and come back to work with refreshed. While a sabbatical helps you see life from a different perspective it has its own pluses and minuses.
Employee-friendly companies realize the importance of sabbaticals and some even have a policy of offering paid sabbaticals to employees who have been with the company for many years. More often, sabbaticals are unpaid.
The pros of a sabbatical
- You can take a well-deserved break after continuous years of work, relax and enjoy your life doing things you have wanted to do.
- For busy bees not used to relaxing, a sabbatical is the time when you can learn and develop new skills such as learning a new language or taking a new course that may or may not help with your work.
- You may rediscover long-lost hobbies, dust that guitar in the attic, pick up your journal entry habit or even pen a story, enroll yourself in the music class you had always wanted to or go for the canvas and paints.
- A sabbatical can be a time to rekindle your family ties and spend quality time with your spouse and children or friends, which will have a lasting positive impact on your life, making you feel cared for.
- If you have wanted to involve yourself in a social cause, this is the time to volunteer or participate in community work.
- You return to work, recharged and raring to go and your productivity increases. Which means, greater chances of your moving up the ladder!
- A sabbatical may also help you move away from a negative work ambience and elicit thoughts about a new career. You can prepare yourself by developing new skills or reading up during this time.
- It gives you time to test the job market, look for new opportunities or meet up with job-related contacts, enabling you to strengthen your networking skills.
- A sabbatical rejuvenates your mind in every which way. You are motivated to discover new things, meet new people and travel to destinations you have not been before.
- If you can add a bit of exercise and meditation to your break-time, you can return to work fit and fine, with a mindset to conquer the world!
Benefits for the company
Sabbaticals are good for the company too. They buy the loyalty of their employee for a lifetime!
- The policy of paid sabbaticals or permitting employees to take sabbaticals work as good PR for the companies and help entice talented and committed new employees.
- When employees return from sabbaticals they have shown increased productivity, which is good for the company.
The cons of a sabbatical
- Taking a sabbatical may also lead to certain undesirable consequences if you are not careful to rein in thoughts that might distract you from getting back to work.
- You are returning to a changed ambience and may also have to face imperceptible negativity and resentment from others in your workplace.
- Your return after a sabbatical may not be smooth if you have gone for a break against the wishes of your employer.
- If it is an unpaid sabbatical, how have you planned your finances? Do you have enough to see you through the period and also fund your plans to learn a new skill, travel or indulge in your passion?
- Would a sabbatical in anyway affect your promotion, benefits or pension? If you just need to sort out issues at home, you might want to consider flexi timings or a work-from-home arrangement instead of considering a sabbatical.
- Have you given a thought about how your work would continue when you take a sabbatical? Do you have someone reliable in the organization to manage your work effectively so that your work would not be disturbed, including your relationships with your customers or clients, suppliers and other important work-related people?
- After relaxing for a length of time, you need to be motivated enough to return to work and not change your mindset or feel intimidated by rigorous work schedules.
- If you work in a large organization, a sabbatical may be possible but in small enterprises, if you absent yourself for long periods of time, the business will be affected negatively.
- Companies usually look for employees without too many breaks in their careers. They will not give added responsibilities to employees who go on long leave and will not spend time or money training people who may absent themselves for long periods of times.
- A sabbatical may hamper your resume and promotions. You need to consider this seriously before you plan a break.
Remember, at the end of the day, you do deserve to take time off from work to unwind or do the things you have always wanted to do. But do weigh the pros and cons before embarking on a sabbatical.