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Old 08-09-2008, 04:39 PM   #41
Recycles dryer sheets
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 156
Originally Posted by EagleEye View Post
The question is: how big of a deal is it? So let's say -- on a scale from one to ten of career injury -- that time off to serve a prison sentence for murdering your last boss counts as a 10 (i.e., career-ending move). Time off to serve in the armed forces counts or to recover from a life-threatening illness counts as a zero (i.e., no harm to career or even a plus). Given that scale, how would you score my sabbatical idea? (To recap, this would be a 6-12 month period, and I would use it in part to do some writing (legal and non-legal) for publication and to address some health issues. Obviously, there is a big "rest and refocus" component to it as well.)

6 month gap can be no problem at all -- 0 -- especially if you get to the interview stage. It can be explained through a variety of methods. Best is usually something like "After working for 10 years with nearly no vacation, I finally took a quick break to recharge my batteries, so I can come back refreshed and be even more productive. As much as I enjoyed the break, I find that I really prefer the work schedule." This can also be part of a cover letter.

1 Year, is probably an 8. May suggest lack of direction, possibly a whole host of other issues, and high likelihood of being a flake (even though we know this would be unjustified in your case).

But, if you would do writing in any field that can be even remotely linked into your current career, it would not be considered a sabbatical at all, so it's back to a rating of 0. You could even position the time as a brief period in which you did research into specific topics that you wrote about, and could be used to the advantage of the next employer. Or some thing like that...

I would try to stay away from the term sabbatical, and if possible not mention health issues. It could translate into the employer thinking that you'd require extra sick-time or push up the group insurance rates if it's a small firm.

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Old 08-10-2008, 08:35 PM   #42
Full time employment: Posting here.
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 702
Have you considered to go part time for an extended period of time? I am not sure if your firm would permit it, however, that might be an option to give you some more personal time still have a job to go back to. I cut my hours back to 25/hrs per week about 3 years ago to have more time to raise my son after his mother died. My employeer was happy to accomodate my situiation. I now work about 18 hours/week and have time for most everything that I need to do.

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Old 08-11-2008, 01:07 PM   #43
Dryer sheet wannabe
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 22

Thank you all again for all of your concern and advice. I will let you all know how it goes. All of your posts helped a lot.


Thanks for suggesting those books. I had never heard of them. I checked out Lost In the Cosmos on Amazon, and it looks intriguing. So now thanks to this thread, I have 3 books and one movie to check out!


Um, not to doubt a fellow lawyer, but are you seriously suggesting that 6 months off is no issue at all, but taking 12 months off is 80% as career damaging as killing one's boss? I know that the longer the period, the greater the harm to the resume, but I am not sure I buy that the gap b/t 6 and 12 months is that great. However, I do agree with you about how to explain/justify the time off in interviews. I wont stress the personal growth side, but rather frame it as a productivity-boosting move.


Thanks for your insights. I actually do have volunteering down on my tentative to-do list. That is something I always wanted to do, but because of work, never had the time or energy.

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