- I hear it from clients and friends all the time: Everyone experiences some level of burnout.
- I recommend taking sabbatical leave, or an extended break from work, if you need to reset.
- This article is part ofRe/rethink/teramentThe series focused on inspiring financial planning for a different kind of future than what life from 9 to 5 would allow.
The past two years have been stressful for many of us. Whether I’m talking with friends, colleagues, or clients, I notice that everyone experiences some level of burnout.
Do you feel like you need a break from your daily burden because a week or two off isn’t enough? Has the pandemic caused you to rethink your priorities and career path? Taking a long time away from work — also known as a sabbatical — comes with many benefits. It can help reduce stress and give you time to relax. It can also be an opportunity to learn new skills or plan your next move.
Vacation can seem far-fetched if you don’t have a lot of money. With proper planning, it can be closer to your reach than you think. Here are some tips on planning a sabbatical and making the most of your time away.
Get your money duck in a row
Very few companies offer paid time off for employees, so making a plan for your finances is essential if you’re looking for an extended vacation. If your company offers paid time off, review the policy in detail. If there is no sabbatical leave policy, you have several factors to consider.
Start by reviewing your current income and expenses. How much do you need to cover your basic living expenses? Will you need extra money to cover the costs of the hobbies, travel, or education that you have planned? How much cash did you allocate? Do you have a spouse or partner who can help cover expenses or children who depend on your income? You’ll need enough cash to cover your bills while you’re not working plus an extra pillow to cover any of them unexpected expenses may come. Save as much as you can early on. The more you can save, the better.
In addition to current expenses, consider how vacation might affect your long-term retirement or financial freedom goals because you probably won’t be in a position to save while you’re away from work. Depending on how much time you want to take off, the vacation may also affect your future earnings. There is a chance to extend the promotion schedule or miss an opportunity to grow your career. Understanding this up front will help you in the decision-making process.
Decide how you want to spend your time
Do you want to travel or spend quality time with your loved ones? Are you considering a new career and need time to develop new skills? Is this a good time to dedicate to a passionate project or give back? Thinking about how you will spend your vacation in advance will help you make the most of your time away. Having an idea of what you want to do gives you direction on how much time you might need, what time of year makes sense, and how much money you’ll need.
It is ultimately up to you to decide why you took the sabbatical and what you would like to achieve during your time away. Make a list of all the possibilities, think about them, and narrow them down. Next, consider the associated costs and time needed to achieve your goals. No matter what you decide on, take the opportunity to relax and unwind at the start of your vacation. That way, you can get back to work or start your next endeavor with a clear head.
Create Paid Leave
Taking a long time away from work without pay isn’t always possible, but you may need a break if you’re experiencing burnout. Consider when to take a vacation. Assuming you plan to return to your current company, you want to feel secure about your position and prioritize any important projects or deadlines.
It’s a good idea to start a conversation with your employer early on. Explain why you would like to take study leave and how the timing was well thought out. Be prepared to discuss how taking time off can benefit the employer, how much time you want, whether you will be able to access it, and whether you will return to the same job. Sharing details of your plans, especially if it involves learning new skills, can help the employer join in.
I had a few clients with them Unlimited Paid Time Off (PTO) Take long vacations of up to six weeks. An easy way to do this is to plan your current vacations. For example, it could take off between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day or between Memorial Day and Independence Day. Even with an unlimited PTO, the employer may need to agree to an extended period away from the office.
If your employer rejects your application for a sabbatical, you may consider leaving your job. Or your vacation could be between jobs or a career change. Keep this in mind in your budget so that you will be in a good position in any situation.
Having time to rest and recharge throughout your career rather than waiting until retirement can be a game changer. If you are fortunate enough to work for a company that offers paid vacations, take full advantage of this rare opportunity. If not, don’t worry! A sabbatical can be possible and meaningful with proper planning.