Anyone taken a mid-career sabbatical?

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AmericaninParis
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Anyone taken a mid-career sabbatical?

Postby AmericaninParis » Sun Mar 19, 2017 2:29 pm

Has anyone here ever taken one? What did you do? Would you recommend it?

I'm late 30s with good savings but not near retirement level. I'm thinking of one as a way to test some passions, travel and basically have new experiences I can't manage now with an intense job.

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cfs
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Location: Sabático de Foros

Re: Anyone taken a mid-career sabbatical?

Postby cfs » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:19 pm

Back from my LUng Distance Workout and ready to contribute my dos pesetas. I took a late-career Sabbaticus when I left the military after 31 years of active duty. Took time off work in order to get back to competition shape. Ran several races and was satisfied with my performance. After recharging my batteries I was once again ready, willing, and able to join the Active Work Force. Had a very rewarding second career job until finally deciding to call it a day. Left for good and joined The Active Retired Force. It worked for me, I remain physically and mentally active, and if I had to do it all over I would NOT change a thing. Thanks for reading ~cfs~

p.s. Now closing for good, getting ready for another Internet Sabbaticus due to travel.
~ Luke 10:25-37 ~

GerryL
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Re: Anyone taken a mid-career sabbatical?

Postby GerryL » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:29 pm

The company I worked for offers a 2 month sabbatical after each 7 years of employment. No requirement to produce anything, but you're not supposed to take on any paying job. Some people vacation or take family trips. Some undertake significant volunteer projects in another country. I did round-the-country solo driving trips on my first two sabbaticals.

What you want to do sounds like what I did pre-career -- for many years before finally settling down in a "real" job. If you can accomplish a sabbatical without touching your retirement savings, it might be worth it. Allow your retirement savings to grow while you explore. At this stage in your life, it would be wise to have some kind of broad plan with learning objectives that could be added as accomplishments to your resume. Spend some time thinking about what you hope to achieve and how you can finance this experiment without undermining your future.

PS AmericaninParis: Much of my pre-career sabbatical was spent in Paris.

TravelGeek
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Re: Anyone taken a mid-career sabbatical?

Postby TravelGeek » Sun Mar 19, 2017 3:49 pm

AmericaninParis wrote:Has anyone here ever taken one? What did you do? Would you recommend it?

I'm late 30s with good savings but not near retirement level. I'm thinking of one as a way to test some passions, travel and basically have new experiences I can't manage now with an intense job.


Yes, I took a few months off mid-career (kept same job). Traveled a bit with my wife (her regular vacation) and by myself, both in the US and Europe/Asia. One of the highlights was seeing one of the last Space Shuttle launches in Florida. The first attempt was scrubbed, so I actually had the time and flexibity to fly out twice for the launch, but combined it with some R&R in Florida.

Spend some time sorting through years of files and scanning/shredding stuff. Ultimately didn't accomplish as much as I thought I would, but I also spend time just relaxing in the backyard with books and music. Definitely thought it was worthwhile, even though that time was unpaid.

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Watty
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Re: Anyone taken a mid-career sabbatical?

Postby Watty » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:11 pm

You need to define what you mean by sabbatical. Taking a six week leave of absence from your job with your employer's approval then returning to the same job is a lot different than quitting your job and traveling for a year.

If you can schedule the six week sabbatical then I would encourage your to go for it if your employer will allow you to take it.

It may vary by field but I would be extremely cautious about taking a year off and expecting to restart your career where you left off. It is mostly women who take time off to be a stay at home parent but they often have a hard time getting their career back to where it would have been without being out of the workforce and you would be in much the same situation.

avalpert
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Re: Anyone taken a mid-career sabbatical?

Postby avalpert » Sun Mar 19, 2017 4:54 pm

I've taken 3 in my ~17 years of working. I took off 6+ months in my mid 20's to go backpacking with my wife in Southeast Asia, 5 months in my early 30's to finish my pilots license and decide what I wanted to do next and 4 months in my later 30's to go overlanding across Southern Africa with wife and kids. In between those I have made good use of generous vacation leaves to travel and explore.

I do recommend it. 20, 30, 40 years of working without a meaningful break is a long time and doesn't make any sense in my mind - you need balance throughout your life not just the last early and later years.

LiketoHike
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Re: Anyone taken a mid-career sabbatical?

Postby LiketoHike » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:05 am

Not yet, but I think I am about to. I am a bit older than you are (early to mid fifties) and I am suffering a serious case of burn-out. I am at a point now where I dread every day and that is no way to live. I am in sales, which is a lot of travel, pressure and stress. I have been at my profession for about 25 years and I see my life suddenly passing me by, my joints are getting creaky and I can see my health declining if I keep this up. Where did the time go?

I have about 25 times expenses now, and if it weren't for that wildcard called Healthcare, I would probably think about calling it quits for good. I currently make good money, and will likely never be able to make what I am making again....but what good is it if I am not able to enjoy it, right?

It's time to re-evaluate. As it is, I am planning on quitting in July and taking a year or two off just for me (and my wife). We would like to live different places for a month at a time and see if anywhere sticks. Looking forward to riding my mountain bike whenever I want, doing some backpacking, working in my shop, working around the house and just live and decompress for a while. After that, we will see. I can't see myself not doing some kind of work. Maybe I will take on a hobby job or do something meaningful and try to be a benefit to society. Or, I can get back into my same industry. Who knows?

Regardless, I am never going to be as healthy or active as I am now, and I see that time whizzing by me. Its time to take some time and enjoy my life now....because I only have this one.

So, to answer your question.... no, I have not taken a sabbatical YET.....but I am about to! :beer

bluejello
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Re: Anyone taken a mid-career sabbatical?

Postby bluejello » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:41 am

In my field (tech) it's extremely common. I personally know 11 different people who have quit their jobs in their 30's and 40's, taken 6 months to 2 years off to travel, and then come back to find new jobs with no problems whatsoever.

Needless to say these people are all relatively high performers and very well-networked. Also many (although not all) of them did a tiny bit of consulting work while on their sabbatical, no more than 5-10 hours a week.
Last edited by bluejello on Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

bluejello
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Re: Anyone taken a mid-career sabbatical?

Postby bluejello » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:43 am

Watty wrote:It may vary by field but I would be extremely cautious about taking a year off and expecting to restart your career where you left off. It is mostly women who take time off to be a stay at home parent but they often have a hard time getting their career back to where it would have been without being out of the workforce and you would be in much the same situation.


I'd challenge the idea that one year off will do your career serious harm. The women I know who quit to be SAHMs and then were later unable to find jobs were all out of the workforce for at least 3-5 years or even more. In some countries, one year off is just called maternity leave.

invst65
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Re: Anyone taken a mid-career sabbatical?

Postby invst65 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:51 am

I took a sabbatical of nearly two years after my wife died of lung cancer. Wasn't quite mid-career as I was 50 years old and still had 17 years to go in my career (up until last year). I traveled out west along with my adopted granddaughter, going all the way to Alaska and back one time.

Looking back I think it gave me a much needed second wind to complete my career as I needed to recover from both mental burnout (at work and home) and physical issues related to long hours in front of the computer. Don't know how I would have fared the last 17 years if I hadn't done that.

Flux
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Re: Anyone taken a mid-career sabbatical?

Postby Flux » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:14 am

I took a year off from work in my late 20’s to travel (just a few years ago). For me, it was the best decision I ever made. I think you need to look at your stage in your career and see how difficult it would be to get back into the job market. For me, I had a great resume up to the point I quit, leading to 2 job offers on the table within 2 weeks of being home. I think it would be more difficult to find a good role if I were more experienced as those jobs are harder to find. It’s really dependent on your situation. It’s set me back a bit in career progression, but it’s worth it to me.

I say go for it. Unless you have a profession that would be hard to get back to, everything will work itself out in the end. The biggest challenge is deciding to do it.

Pick up a copy of Vagabonding, by Rolf Potts. It’s a travel book that really hits the nail on the head about what experiences you can have while traveling. Good luck.

Mofritty
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Re: Anyone taken a mid-career sabbatical?

Postby Mofritty » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:41 pm

I'm six months and one day into a mid career "sabbatical".
I feel ten years younger than I did six months ago.
Left a really good twenty year career.
Have spent the time traveling, volunteering, doing projects.
Am the envy of friends who are miserable but too scared to change.
It is every bit a scary and even more rewarding than you can imagine.
Bet on yourself!

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zaboomafoozarg
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Re: Anyone taken a mid-career sabbatical?

Postby zaboomafoozarg » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:05 pm

I would love to do it, but I know I never will.

youdiditr2
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Re: Anyone taken a mid-career sabbatical?

Postby youdiditr2 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:34 pm

I tried to get a 60 days unpaid leave and my boss wouldn't let me. They said I had to get a medical leave if I wanted 60 days, even though company policy allows 60 days unpaid leave every 12 months, at manager's discretion of course.

I think I wouldn't feel so burnt out if I could get away for 60 days. Been working 17 years straight and the longest vacation I have had was 4 weeks. Guess I shouldn't really complain since a lot of people don't get 4 weeks. But I had to threaten to quick just so I can take 4 weeks of vacation.


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