Posts Tagged ‘sabbaticals’

Benefits of Using a Career or Sabbatical Coach
Monday, March 1st, 2010

[singlepic=1662,150,,,right]Deciding to change your career or take time off from your current job can be very challenging on the mind and soul. Add travel plans on top of that and you may get discouraged enough to abandon your career break dreams. Tara Russell, a certified life & career coach through her company Three Month Visa, shares with us the benefits of using a coach to help guide you through this life-changing experience.

What are the benefits of a travel sabbatical and what types of activities do you recommend to your clients?
I think the greatest benefit of travel sabbaticals can be summed up by one of my favorite quotes from travel writer Pico Iyer: “Travel is like love: It cracks you open, and so pushes you over all the walls and low horizons that habits and defensiveness set up.” When we are home, we can begin to define ourselves by our routines and labels (i.e. our careers, our consumer habits, etc.) For example, I’ve had clients come to me and say “I’m a top-level executive consultant with 15 years delivering Six Sigma expertise to tech firms in Silicon Valley” or “I’m an eco-conscious soy-latte-drinking, Prius-driving reusable-grocery-bag-toting Yoga nut!” All good stuff, to be sure…but not who these people really are at their core.

[singlepic=1659,275,,,left]Travel removes us from our habits and routines and lets us rediscover ourselves anew. It expands our horizons, gives us fresh and new perspectives, strengthens our sense of adventure, pushes us to challenge ourselves and feeds an appreciation of our own courage and abilities. By the time those same clients came home, they were able to say “I am someone who survived and thrived during 15 months of solo travel…who watched the sun rise over Machu Picchu and set over the steppes of Mongolia, who learned new languages and opened up to new cultures…who made life-long friendships out of chance acquaintances, etc.” Those are gifts that come home with you and last a lifetime.


Favorite Website: TED Talks – Ideas Worth Spreading
Thursday, January 7th, 2010

[singlepic=1636,250,,,right]In his recent guest post, Sabbaticals and the Pursuit of Happiness, Clive Prout makes reference to a video presentation on TED Talks given by Dr. Martin Seligman.

If you don’t know what TED Talks is, you should! TED is a small nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading”. It started out as a conference bringing people together from the worlds of Technology, Entertainment, and Design (thus, the TED). During the annual conference, attendees get to hear riveting talks (18 minutes in length) by more than 50 remarkable people.

The site TED Talks grew out of the idea to give everyone on-demand access to these most inspiring voices.

The TED content has expanded to include talks on business, science, culture, arts, and global issues. Dr. Seligman’s talk is found in the Culture section under “What Makes Us Happy”. Another notable talk in this category is by Stefan Sagmeister titled “The Power of Time Off”.

Sagmeister is a notable designer based in NYC and is also known for shutting down his shop every seven years for a year sabbatical. That’s one idea we know is worth spreading! His reasoning is that we spend the first 25 years of our lives learning, the next 40 years working, and the final 15 in retirement. He wanted to intersperse some of the retirement years within the working years.

He also recognized the value of time off to rejuvenate and refresh his creative outlook. After his first sabbatical, he found that:

  • His job became his calling again
  • Over the long term it was financially successful
  • And everything his shop designed in the seven years following the first sabbatical was originated in that year.

We highly recommend you take the 18 minutes to listen to this fascinating talk. And thank you for helping us spread the idea on career breaks and sabbaticals!

Sabbaticals and the Pursuit of Happiness
Monday, January 4th, 2010

[singlepic=1633,200,,,right]Career breaks and sabbaticals are a great opportunity to quiet your mind and help you connect with what it is that will make you truly happy. Clive Prout uses the insights he gained from his own sabbatical to help others find their path to happiness. He shares with us what led him on the path to becoming The Sabbatical Coach and how you could benefit from using one.

One of the things that drew me to immigrate to the USA is a phrase in the Declaration of Independence.

I grew up in England, which holds its citizens as “subjects” of the monarch, with no written constitution to guarantee their rights. The idea that the purpose of government was to secure for its citizens “certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” was revolutionary. It seemed a wonderful basis on which to create a country and a new life for myself.

I moved to Menlo Park in the heart of Silicon Valley in the mid 1990s. The computer industry was in full bloom and the Internet was starting to explode. Netscape’s offices opened a couple of blocks from where I worked in Mountain View. Central to my choice to be here was the unquestioned assumption that the pursuit of happiness lay through the pursuit of wealth. I would become rich and happy – or so I thought.


Favorite Books: Escape 101 Review
Thursday, September 10th, 2009

There are millions of people, things, media, and social factors telling you that taking a career break is crazy.

  • Why would you ever leave a perfectly good job or paycheck to travel for an extended period of time?
  • Taking a break would be detrimental to your career; you may never to find another job again!

The mind is a powerful thing – especially when it comes to taking career breaks. But isn’t it funny how our mind can take a positive thing and twist it into a terrible outcome? And with naysayers questioning your intentions at every turn, you’ll need all the help you can get to actually make your career break dream a reality.

Escape 101: Sabbaticals Made Simple by Dan Clements and Tara Gignac, ND is a powerful weapon that can help you to get on the road to your career break. I recently listened to Dan’s book on my iPod and was enthralled form the moment it began. It was in complete alignment with my view on sabbaticals and career breaks. In fact, while listening, I felt as if I was reliving my career break decisions and struggles from four years ago. There are so many things that make you feel like your crazy if you take a career break, but Escape 101 makes you feel that you’re crazy if you DON’T take one; finally someone is on your side! (ahem – Briefcase to Backpack is on your side too!)

In addition, Clements has taken many career breaks himself. He has even planned career breaks with his whole family, including young kids. He obviously has lived through many of the topics he covers in the book, so it brings some great credibility to his advice.


Circumstances: Negotiating a Sabbatical
Monday, September 7th, 2009

If you are in a position where you like your job and the company that you work for, but feeling burnt out, a sabbatical may be for you!

We recently profiled a couple, Ben & Alonna, who started on their year of travel in August of 2009. Both worked for HP and while Ben decided to leave his job, Alonna was able to negotiate a year leave of absence.

If you are thinking this may be the way for you, follow some of Alonna’s tips on how she successfully negotiate for the time off.

[singlepic=1521,200,,,right]Before approaching my employer about the break, I spent a lot of time researching, getting advice, and preparing a proposal.
My research included online searches for other people doing similar things, and looking up the policies at my company for unpaid leaves. Finding the policy at my company was straight-forward; they allow up to a one-year unpaid leave for personal reasons to be approved by management and HR.

Searching online turned up a few good articles and websites, but I think Briefcase to Backpack is a great addition and fills in a lot of gaps. Just hearing about people in similar situations helps a lot when you’re starting out.

Next I sought advice from multiple people in my company who I trusted. I asked what they thought of the idea and how I should present it. They had great advice and gave me confidence in my plans.

Finally, I prepared a proposal document which described:

  • What I want (1-year unpaid leave of absence)
  • Why I deserve it (included a list of accomplishments at the company thus far)
  • What I would gain (new skills, renewed motivation, personal growth)
  • How my work would be covered (a list of items and people who could help out)

When I presented this to my manager he was supportive right away and worked with me to get it officially approved. I think the fact that I was a high-performer and presented a well thought-out plan helped a lot.


How Sabbaticals Benefit Companies and Individuals
Sunday, April 5th, 2009

If you are fortunate enough to love your job AND work for a company that offers a sabbatical program, it would be wasteful for you not to take advantage of the opportunity to take a sabbatical.

yourSABBATICAL is a firm that partners with businesses to deploy programs that attract, retain and accelerate top talent through the use of highly planned and structured leaves of absences. Having worked with many Fortune 500 companies and their employees, they are experts in the area of creating sabbatical programs with defined goals and measurable results. Here they discuss the benefits to both you and your employer. (more…)

Supporters: Company Sabbaticals
Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

Taking a career break doesn’t always mean you need to leave your job or company, especially if you love where you work and what you do. In fact, a career break or sabbatical is a great opportunity to become rejuvenated in your career and environment. And many companies in the US offer some sort of sabbatical program for their employees.

Sabbatical programs are a great way for companies to build employee loyalty and retention. According to a 2008 survey conducted by the Families and Work Institute, 24% of small businesses and 14% of large businesses allow their employees to take sabbaticals (paid or unpaid of six months or more).


Career Break Guide Table of Contents

Meet Plan Go