Taking a short career break in silicon valley

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Topic Author
Wannaretireearly
Posts: 754
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Taking a short career break in silicon valley

Post by Wannaretireearly » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:17 am

Anyone done this successfully at a tech company?
What was your experience like leaving/joining back at same or different company?

My company doesn't have a sabbatical or anything like that sort of program.

Just looking for others' experiences. Been almost 20 years of continuous grind, and I'm longing for an extended break soon. Not just 2/3 week vacations. We do that...

Thank you!
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curmudgeon
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Re: Taking a short career break in silicon valley

Post by curmudgeon » Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:48 pm

Wannaretireearly wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:17 am
Anyone done this successfully at a tech company?
What was your experience like leaving/joining back at same or different company?

My company doesn't have a sabbatical or anything like that sort of program.

Just looking for others' experiences. Been almost 20 years of continuous grind, and I'm longing for an extended break soon. Not just 2/3 week vacations.
My perception is that anything under a year is no big deal. Just the standard round of looking for a new job in SV afterwards. Being out of the loop more that two years can be pretty hazardous to your career. I've interviewed a few people who were looking to come back after 2-3 years, and they seemed pretty rusty (unless you were busy on some open-source project or the like, but that sort of defeats the purpose).

It somewhat depends on your specific circumstances; connections, job history, etc. I took a 9-month break midway in my career because I was burned out from a high-paying job that wasn't a good fit for me. When I was ready to go back to work, it happened that my preferred company/team was doing well enough that they could just create a job slot for me when I let them know I was available. Otherwise I would have had to go through the usual job search routine, but with my background and the variety of SV jobs around it wouldn't have been an issue. Best to be prepared for the job search to take some time just in case, though. If you are on pretty good terms with your current organization, coming back to them is definitely a possibility depending on their growth/turnover.

I also took a three month (unpaid) leave once, but that was within company policy so it was a simple process.

Topic Author
Wannaretireearly
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Re: Taking a short career break in silicon valley

Post by Wannaretireearly » Fri Oct 18, 2019 5:50 pm

Thanks curmudgeon!
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HawkeyePierce
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Re: Taking a short career break in silicon valley

Post by HawkeyePierce » Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:23 pm

I’m at the tail end of a five month unpaid leave from a Silicon Valley company. We also don’t have a formal sabbatical policy but I’ve been here a while and am a valued engineer.

Getting my request approved was remarkably easy. To my surprise my stock continued vesting even though salary and benefits all stopped.

spae
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Re: Taking a short career break in silicon valley

Post by spae » Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:39 pm

I've taken a lengthy break of over a year and I know a few people who've done that multiple times. No problems so far, but it's not risk free. If there's a downturn or a crash, it might be hard to find a job afterwards.

TTBG
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Re: Taking a short career break in silicon valley

Post by TTBG » Fri Oct 18, 2019 7:42 pm

curmudgeon wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 12:48 pm
My perception is that anything under a year is no big deal. Just the standard round of looking for a new job in SV afterwards. Being out of the loop more that two years can be pretty hazardous to your career.
That's my perception too. I once took about a year off, although I ended up doing some very part-time contracting with my previous employer for 5 or 6 of those months. I think they would have hired me back if I asked, but I didn't ask :D and I found a new job without much trouble. I don't think a year long gap raises many eyebrows, as long as your skills don't get too rusty.

mottooscillator
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Re: Taking a short career break in silicon valley

Post by mottooscillator » Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:24 pm

Curious how close OP is to retirement. I think if I was burned out and close I might just retire early.

Flyer24
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Re: Taking a short career break in silicon valley

Post by Flyer24 » Fri Oct 18, 2019 9:46 pm

Topic moved to Personal Finance (Not Investing).

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mrspock
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Re: Taking a short career break in silicon valley

Post by mrspock » Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:25 pm

Wannaretireearly wrote:
Fri Oct 18, 2019 10:17 am
Anyone done this successfully at a tech company?
What was your experience like leaving/joining back at same or different company?

My company doesn't have a sabbatical or anything like that sort of program.

Just looking for others' experiences. Been almost 20 years of continuous grind, and I'm longing for an extended break soon. Not just 2/3 week vacations. We do that...

Thank you!
A break after 20 years in Silicon Valley? Yes, it’s called retirement :D

Our company allows a rehire without re-interviewing, in most cases, but it needs to be approved and you need to be in “good standing”. I would ask your manager or HR rep to see what your options are... they are usually kept “on the down low” — but precedent and policies usually exist.

Topic Author
Wannaretireearly
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Re: Taking a short career break in silicon valley

Post by Wannaretireearly » Sat Oct 19, 2019 8:10 pm

Ha. Love these comments. Very encouraging & I could approach my friendly HR rep to find out specifics at my company.

How close am I to FIRE?
3 years til mortgage done.
9 years til kids are both in college & private school costs diminish.

Then I'm done at 50! So, it's really about how I navigate the next 10 years. It seems a bit of a pipe dream, but would be awesome to get an extended break, perhaps coinciding with kids summer break. I'll keep dreaming...
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HawkeyePierce
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Re: Taking a short career break in silicon valley

Post by HawkeyePierce » Sun Oct 20, 2019 2:04 am

FWIW, I started by getting my manager and director onboard with my sabbatical before approaching HR. I thought it’d be harder for HR to give me a blanket no if I already had informal approval my management chain.

Since we don’t have a formal sabbatical/extended break policy HR told me they’d submit the request but it was unlikely. I think that was a bluff because my VP and the VP of HR both approved it the next day.

Topic Author
Wannaretireearly
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Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:39 pm

Re: Taking a short career break in silicon valley

Post by Wannaretireearly » Tue Oct 29, 2019 12:07 am

HawkeyePierce wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 2:04 am
FWIW, I started by getting my manager and director onboard with my sabbatical before approaching HR. I thought it’d be harder for HR to give me a blanket no if I already had informal approval my management chain.

Since we don’t have a formal sabbatical/extended break policy HR told me they’d submit the request but it was unlikely. I think that was a bluff because my VP and the VP of HR both approved it the next day.
Thanks. Good advice.
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ladders11
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Re: Taking a short career break in silicon valley

Post by ladders11 » Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:27 pm

If you are okay with, or even enjoy, your employer, then the question becomes more about them. Can you secure the appropriate assurances about your rehire and the terms thereof?

If you would be on the open market, then the question is more about the value of your skills and how long it would take to get an offer. Can you negotiate for equivalent compensation while you are unemployed? Can you discuss your rationale for taking a break when asked, and quickly represent your motivation to keep on in your career?

Keep in mind that company culture can be either good or bad, commutes can be long or short, and pay can be competitive or not. So many people have it good in their job, but seem not to realize this because they don't have much to compare it to.

Also, taking a short break is not altogether unstudied. If you are able to do some research on parental leave and the impact to pay and career opportunities, it is normal for the time off to have a negative impact on the pay and terms of employment on re-entry into the workforce. (Read: I am not calling parental leave a short break, but if I were making a similar decision I'd want to gather some data. People who take parental leave for a few months or years represent a decent proxy for the type of career impact.)

Topic Author
Wannaretireearly
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Re: Taking a short career break in silicon valley

Post by Wannaretireearly » Wed Oct 30, 2019 7:04 am

ladders11 wrote:
Tue Oct 29, 2019 11:27 pm
If you are okay with, or even enjoy, your employer, then the question becomes more about them. Can you secure the appropriate assurances about your rehire and the terms thereof?

If you would be on the open market, then the question is more about the value of your skills and how long it would take to get an offer. Can you negotiate for equivalent compensation while you are unemployed? Can you discuss your rationale for taking a break when asked, and quickly represent your motivation to keep on in your career?

Keep in mind that company culture can be either good or bad, commutes can be long or short, and pay can be competitive or not. So many people have it good in their job, but seem not to realize this because they don't have much to compare it to.

Also, taking a short break is not altogether unstudied. If you are able to do some research on parental leave and the impact to pay and career opportunities, it is normal for the time off to have a negative impact on the pay and terms of employment on re-entry into the workforce. (Read: I am not calling parental leave a short break, but if I were making a similar decision I'd want to gather some data. People who take parental leave for a few months or years represent a decent proxy for the type of career impact.)
Good thoughts. Thanks. I know my HR rep well. Will start to at least discuss this. Perhaps in the third person ;)
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