Is Taking Sabbatical from Work Worth the Job Sacrifice?

Imagine watching the Northern Lights with a loved one, or visiting the Galapagos Islands, or going on a Trek to Machu Picchu in the midst of your career! The idea feels as intriguing as it can be imagined; for which you need to take a mid-career break. A break is something that everyone craves for; be it in studies, regular schedules, or career. When talking about career, there are two types of breaks that a person can take. One is a career break and the other is a sabbatical. With a thin line of difference between the two; it is up to the individual that which break should they opt for. A career break is the kind of a break where people resign from their current jobs either to rest or to pursue a different career, or a hobby. Whereas, a sabbatical is that kind of a formal break; in which the employee returns to the same office or job profile after a dedicated time-period.

It isn’t necessary that all the companies have a sabbatical policy. But for those companies providing a sabbatical leave; some of them continue depositing the employees’ salaries, while some of them suspend employees’ perks for the duration of their sabbatical. Typically, a sabbatical may last from two months to one year. People take sabbaticals from clocking those 60-hour job weeks for various reasons; like reassessing their careers, spending quality time with themselves and their family, travelling the world, or for rebounding with loved ones; among other reasons.

benefits of a sabbatical from work

Increasingly, employees are getting inclined towards sabbaticals as a favored option for work-life balance. Companies, who want to hire and retain millennial talents; are also looking towards sabbaticals as a retention tool, and as an alternative to lay-offs. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 23 percent companies in the U.S offer sabbatical from work; out of which 17 percent are unpaid and 6 percent are paid.

All that said, you might wonder if taking a sabbatical is worth the job sacrifice or not; if your company is not the one paying for your break. There are many benefits of a work-break some of them being-

1. Meet and Great New People

Your 9-5 gig typically does not allow you to increase your circle out of co-workers or your already existing social group. Surely, your organization is not at fault; but the toll that workloads take on you don’t make going out after a hectic day seem like an appealing idea. Whereas on a sabbatical; you get to meet new people, get acquainted to new cultures, know about different and interesting lifestyles of people, and even more learn something over there; maybe a new language or a new skill. Returning with an added talent sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

2. Let Creativity Flow

A person is at his creative best when he is not burdened by other responsibilities or a monotonous routine. When out on a break, you get can dedicate more time to your passions and interests; and who knows a realization bell might just ring within on a sabbatical to truly pursue what you love. The possibilities of an engineer becoming a writer or a photographer while on a sabbatical; is not rocket-science. Passion, inspiration, and creativity flows like water when the shades of responsibility and accountability wither off.

3. Relax, Rewind, and Rejuvenate

Life is meant for all the memories you create and live with your loved ones; and a sabbatical helps creating tons of them. While a mundane routine lets you spare a sparse amount of time for your family; a sabbatical from work let’s you divert your entire attention to loved ones. Imagine being with the people that matter the most to you; creating memories, having fun, exploring new things together, and remembering old times. Once out there, you get to know that the things you stress about everyday don’t have a life-and-death importance outside workplace. Such breaks can actually remind you about things that are more important in life than work; like your health and your relationships. Also, being rejuvenated makes your new start full of zest and spirit.

4. Work Goes On – Without You Also

Unless you are the CEO of your company, there is no work that may withstand in your absence. People will continue working, deals will continue getting sealed, and meetings will continue to happen; even in your absence. If not you, someone else will do it. Do not live in a bubble of hallucination that things will come to a halt without you. Everything will still be the same even after you return; with maybe a few changes in rules, patterns, and technologies.

5. Do not let a Sabbatical Overpower You

The spiel revolving around a career-break seems tempting; but it is also up to you not to let a vacation affect your talent and work. Take a break for as long as you wish, and also remember that when you return it is a fresh start. When you are back, stop being in the vacation mode and leave that laziness bug behind. A sabbatical is as good as it sounds; only when you have the maturity to deal with things with greater spirits when starting a job or career afresh.

If not Now, When?


We are not bestowed with the elixir of life and every one of us is going to age one day. The zeal, the energy and the youth won’t remain the same forever. How will you enjoy all the hard earned money if you won’t be having the energy to explore new activities and places? Retirement is a given, but the youth is now! Do not make a bucket list, half of which you won’t be able to fulfill after 65. It is genuinely harmless to enjoy your own hard earned money on yourself and your loved ones; when you have both, the ability and health to do it. Careers are self-made, work won’t stop, and life is in the Now.

Before it gets too late, Present Yourself the Present of Present!!

Anna Verasai
Anna Versai is a Team Writer at The HR Digest; she covers topics related to Recruitment, Workplace Culture, Interview Tips, Employee Benefits, HR News and HR Leadership. She also writes for Technowize, providing her views on the Upcoming Technology, Product Reviews, and the latest apps and softwares.

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