I was Consult’s first male team member to take 10 months leave to have a baby. A rugby baby, to be accurate.
I took a sabbatical when I was offered a rugby contract in Cork, Ireland, in 2017.
The opportunity was too good to turn down - travel, experience a new culture, and get paid to train and play rugby (having Consult’s blessings made it a whole lot easier to accept too).
A sabbatical is basically much anything more than a ‘typical’ holiday (they can range anywhere from two months to two years!). It’s an extended absence in a career - often taken in order to achieve something: travel, health, family, education, or a passion or hobby.
I had always been worried if taking a sabbatical would negatively affect my career, but I soon learned that wasn’t the case at all!
A sabbatical can actually be good for your career - seriously?!
Yep! It can boost your productivity, make you feel more motivated, you’ll be more likely to stay at your current job long-term, and you’ll likely have better ideas due to the cool stuff you’ve been doing in your time off!
Here are 4 things to think about if you’re thinking of taking a sabbatical:
Skills and learnings
Think about the experiences you will have during your sabbatical and the skills you will learn during this time. Will you become more resourceful in any ways? These things can actually help you when you return to work!
For me, spending time abroad and learning to understand other cultures helped develop my ability to build better relationships with a wider group of people. Having to quickly adapt to new accents and language overseas also better readied me for the diversity I face in my role as a recruitment consultant.
The resume gap
If you’re going to start a new job search after your sabbatical, think about the significant gap that will be on your resume (yes, a hiring manager will notice it straight away).
Explain it on your resume - it makes you more interesting and versatile than most other applicants.
When the time comes (after your sabbatical), you'll want to talk about the purpose and benefit of your sabbatical, as well as how it made you a more competitive candidate for the job you’re applying for.
Talk to your current employer if it’s something you’re thinking of doing
If you are considering taking a sabbatical, I would seriously recommend discussing it with your current employer! If they are open to the possibility of you returning to your current role after taking the time off, it takes a massive weight off your shoulders.
Long-term leave can benefit both you and your employer - so don’t just assume they will say no.
It’s all well and good deciding that you want to take a sabbatical, but before you do that - think about what you’re going to do after it.
Will you return to the role you are in now, or do you think it might be time for a change?
Have your skills and interests changed while you’ve been in your current role?
When you return, it could be your chance to take the plunge into a completely new role or industry - so make sure you think it through in the early stages of planning.
If you're returning to the same role, catch up with your boss prior to your return to ensure you are both on the same page.
Ready for a change? Check out our latest accounting, finance, and banking jobs here to see if anything tempts you.