When I asked my employer she took me into the office and asked me 'what brought this on? is it because your boyfriend broke up with you?' and the best question 'what if we say no to a sabbatical, no to time off, what would you do?' and when I gave her my reply she said, 'what you give up a perfectly good job, where we've spent money training you, given you an opportunity for you to drop it and go gallavanting around the world?' To which my reply was I was born to live not to work.
Apparently Sabbaticals are down to individual managers, so before I approached mine I did my homework and found out that another individual had done exactly the same. I even chose to take the same length of time out as he did.
Eventually after a few 'talks in the office' it was agreed, although they wrote a new contract for me returning stating 'what benefits I would lose upon my return, and what my rate of pay was, and if the person taking over my job for the past 8 mths was better than me I might not get it back but would be offered something similar.' They also gave me my P45....so technically Im not employed with them, but I have the opportunity to go back in June.
It wasnt an easy ride though. Not only did I have the narrow mindedness of my manager to contend with, but certain individuals in my office started spreading rumours about me (in jealousy I presume) which in turn had me pulled up and 'talked to', which ended up with me getting a dismal amount of cash raised in my leaving fund, and a C grade in my appraisal (I always get A's & B's, because I work damn hard) despite me having a witness to what was actaully said...and which left me with an extremely bad taste in my mouth! Nice huh, after 7 years loyal service....
I left a job I loved to go travelling...as others have said travelling is great for personal development and being exposed to other countries and experienecs for me has helped to put things into prespective.
I think I am more employable now as I feel that coming away has opened my eyes to so many things. I will try and get back into the same field of work but I believe you should never go back.Had I asked for a break from my employer and gone back there after my trip, I would have felt that I hadnt grown from my experience.
This thread has been a useful read for me, I'm having the same thought; Should I take a sabbatical or not. Part of me thinks it will be nice to have the comfort of returning to work on my return. But I also wonder if it will restrict my travel, i.e. what if I decide to stay longer than my sabbatical period....
Has anyone got any advice on how they decided whether to take a sabbatical or not?
I wanted to take a career break from my work, I originally asked 3 years ago and because the organisation I work for is going through a merger (the longest in history I might add! ) they refused as all career breaks have been suspended in the interim period. I am now going to be made redundant (hopefully October time) and I am quite glad that I am being forced to give up my career. My view is that it will give me time to really think about what I want to do and I won't be stuck in the same rut when I get back from a wonderful 2 years away!
My friends went travelling a couple of years ago, jacked in very good jobs, they are now well and truly back on their feet with better jobs and wages than when they went.
I say life's too short, if your work won't give you a career break, just go and do it. I regret not jacking it all in when I first asked to have a career break, I feel like I've wasted 3 years! I don't want to look back at my life and regret anything!
...and when I gave her my reply she said, 'what you give up a perfectly good job, where we've spent money training you, given you an opportunity for you to drop it and go gallavanting around the world?'
Oh, the 'gallavanting' gave that one away. That's what people who are too afraid to leave home call travelling. Fear is a powerful thing. Your manager reminds me of the old monkeys-in-a-barrel anecdote: when one monkey tries to climb out to better things, the others try to hold him down instead of climbing their own way out.
Enjoy, have fun - I'm sure your experiences will be worth every hardship they're putting you through now. Drink to all your lovely coworkers from a beautiful beach on some distant shore!
I was in exactly the same boat as you K.
I'm also a civil servant. We don't call it a career break where I work. What we have, is called a deferred leave of absence. My employer basically takes a percentage of my paycheque every pay, at the end of two years I will get six months off and will be paid at the same rate as if I was working. My leave won't start until Feb 2008.
It's a long time to wait, but I found it to be a good compromise for protecting job security and being able to travel comfortably.
I agree that in the end, one has to risk. So you do what you need to, even if it means quitting. I'm just lucky enough that my employers actually have a program like this.
However, it was rather hard to get management to agree to this. They rarely approve it, and it must be a "compelling" reason (this was an old trusted manager's advice to me). Reading between the lines, I felt that this meant, "galavanting" across the world is not a good enough reason. I've seen people wanting an MBA or to finish of their Master's program denied (and those were Compelling for me, but apparently not for them).
So, I basically told them that I've started a company and I need three months off, without pay so I can negotiate with suppliers in East Asia (which is mostly true). Offcourse, they said no, and I hinted at quitting (I have some of the highest stats in the office, and they know I'm not the typical civil servant, they didn't want to lose me). They countered with suggestions of setting up a deferred leave of absence.
Now I know this is rather backhanded, but like I said, you do what you need to do. I'm getting really sick of the North American Live to Work routine.
Although I wasn't employed then, I can surely relate to your predicament.
A few years ago (just before finishing my A-Levels) I felt ready to give it all up. I was considering to drop out of school despite having good marks because I was so fed up with my live at home and the routine at school. I needed to do something else for my sanity. Anything.
At that time luckily I came across Camp America, an organisation offering young people from all over the world to go to the US and work in a resort or a summer camp for a minumum of 9 weeks. They organised a Camp Directors Fair and there I found a manager willing to hire me if I signed up for 11 weeks.
Problem was: I had only 6 weeks off during the summer.
So the first thing I did when I got to school next day was to ask for a meeting with the very big director. I dressed smartly, brought along my resume containing all my grades from the last year and a half along with the english-language prospect of Camp America.
I explained to him that through Camp America I would be able to volunteer, work with the disabled or help kids from a low social background, while at the same time I knew that would be washing dishes at a golf resort in Maine. He ate it up - one of his students going so far away and not for holiday but to do social work! What an impact, what good publicity for the school if the local press found out about it!
I explained that it would help my English language skills tremendously and thus could be counted as "study" - so could he pretty please consider to exempt me from 2 exams and give me 6 weeks off?
In the end he said yes, that he would support my travel plans and even fight with the department of education over it - and he did. The paper work I had to submit to them and the statements I had to get from my teachers were a nightmare, but in the end I made it.
All through the "I'll be doing social work" and "it will be good publicity for you" selling line. Maybe it works for you too?
Also, I don't know where you live and how old you are, but getting a working holiday maker visa for Japan (yes, it is possible for citizens of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Korea, New Zealand and the UK) and learning Japanese might impress your employer enough to say "yes" too.
Thanks for all of the help and advice, its really motivational and helps to keep a positive slant on travelling. Its great to hear that other people have been in the same position as me and came out smiling. The saying 'work to live, not live to work' has never seemed soo true! Thanks again and please keep them coming!!
No one on their deathbed ever regrets things they have done, just things they didn't.
This is the truest thing....And more specifically, nobody wishes they'd spent more time at the office, or more time on their careers
I wonder when peopole say they have a good job what they mean? What makes them stay? If its money and security, that's not everything. You are lucky if you have a job you actually enjoy, and find thoroughly rewarding. But if are so keen to go travelling, you just have to do it!