5 Easy Tips To Help You Plan A Sabbatical From Work
I often joke that I’m retiring as I go. I’ve taken a few sabbaticals in my career, saving up to explore my creativity, travel the world, practice self-care, and return to work feeling recharged and refreshed. I think this is so important as a creative person. I’ve traveled to central Mexico to take pottery classes, studied Spanish in southern Spain, and moved to the Bay Area from NYC to study interior design and architecture while still going back to my writing career. There’s so much you can do during your sabbatical to reach your life goals and improve your skills. You can travel, volunteer, learn something new,write a book, whatever you dream to do. But it’s less of a risk if you plan wisely. Here are five tips for how to take a sabbatical from work so you can make the most of your time off.
Know Your Why
Figuring out why you want to take a sabbatical first will help you plan better later. Consider what you want to accomplish during your time off and that will help you decide how much time you want to take off, how much savings you’ll need, and how long you need to wait before you can make it happen.
Plan Your Time
Take a look at your company’s vacation and extended unpaid leave policies to get a sense of what terms you can negotiate. Can you tack on unpaid leave to a paid vacation? Work remotely after sabbatical if your goal is to live like a local somewhere else? Think about your goals and align them with your company policies.
Talk To Your Employer
You probably want to be at your company at least a year before requesting a sabbatical. You’ll also want to be on good terms with your team lead. Companies want to make good employees happy, and if that means allowing a month unpaid off then there’s a cost benefit to that in terms of retention. Make a reasonable request when talking to your boss. Is there a slow period when it would be easier to take the time off and not leave your team in a bind? Have you accrued enough vacation time to use up during this sabbatical so you can have some money coming in? Think about what you want and what would make it easy for your employer to allow it.
Build Your Cushion
How will you fund your sabbatical? Avoid building up debt and instead start savingmonths before you plan to take your break. What you need to save is based on how long your sabbatical will be and where you will be. Will you stay home? Travel? Take classes? Think about your monthly expenses and multiply that by the number of months you’ll take off. If you’re planning to live somewhere else, estimate the difference in the cost of living. Add a cushion for any additional expenses, like airplane tickets, class fees, etc. Consider what you can do without (work clothes? commuting costs? home decor?) so you can save for the experience.
Don’t Overlook Passive Income
Think about how you can make money without working. Can you Airbnb your place while you rent a cheaper one in another location? Can you rent out your car or garage space? What can you sell that you don’t really need or use? Online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace andThredUp are great ways to make extra cash while clearing your space.
A sabbatical is an investment in your dream life. Taking the time to explore other interests, meet new friends, see the world, and live an adventurous life is priceless. Good for you for taking this leap and making it happen. Enjoy it, make the most of it, and truly live your best life.
Planning on taking a sabbatical? Check out Brit + Co’s Classes to explore new interests and learning something new!
Theresa Gonzalez is a content creator based in San Francisco and the author of Sunday Sews. She's a lover of all things design and spends most of her days momming her little one Matilda.