What exactly is a career sabbatical? It’s an emerging trend, not just among parents who take time from the professional world to be at home with children. It’s not just gap year students (although Malia Obama put gap years back in the spotlight when she decided to delay her college experience so that she could immerse herself in experiential activities like a Hollywood internship, international travel, and intense study of topics such as environmental conservation and social activism).
Bridge years – or any intentional time away from the traditional classroom and the world of work – offer an amazing option for undergraduates and now they’re also for the young at heart – those of us who yearn to go within, explore, and embrace areas of our lives that have been lost.
If you’re flirting with the idea of taking a career sabbatical, you’re not alone. It’s a dream for many people, but few get beyond the fantasy phase of the process, largely because so many questions surface:
- How will I decide? On the right time, the right budget, the right route, the right structure, the right balance between activity and rest?
- How will I explain it? To my family, my friends, my colleagues, potential employers when I return? How will I even explain it to myself?!
- How will I extricate myself from my current responsibilities and, if I choose to come back, how do I transition back in a manner that doesn’t destroy the peace and learning that I want to cultivate?
Don’t let these questions overwhelm you. We’ll sort through them together using a structured process that includes practical elements such as budgeting and timeline, specific questions about your current relationships and obligations, and dimensions of core identity that surround your health, personal expression and creativity, and connections – both present and desired.
Hope on one of my free group calls that I offer monthly. Just use the sign-up form on this page to let me know of your interest, and we can talk about what’s drawing you to this idea, what – if anything – is holding you back, and what support would look like for you right now.