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Have you taken a sabbatical?
Old 08-08-2013, 05:16 PM   #1
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Have you taken a sabbatical?

I am not yet at the point of being financially independent, so retiring is not an option for me yet, but I have considered the possibility of taking a sabbatical from work for a while, and returning to work after a period of time. I'm not sure how practical it is, or for how long... maybe 3-6 months, maybe a year? I think it would be tricky, depending on your job and your employer, you might not have your job when you come back...

I think some of the benefits would be having some time to do some extended travelling, and do some things that maybe you wouldn't be able to do as easily as you get older when you retire. Also, maybe after some time off, you would feel refreshed and come back to work with more energy. Maybe taking some time off would extend retirement, but so what? The idea would be to have a retirement trial run for a relatively short period of time, say 6 months, or a year, so you can decide whether you actually like not working.

These are some random thoughts, and I was wondering if anyone else has actually done this?
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:24 PM   #2
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I think it would be tricky, depending on your job and your employer, you might not have your job when you come back...
+1

I cannot help you with personal experiences, but what you are saying above sounds correct to me.
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:16 PM   #3
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I took a three-month, unpaid sabbatical at one point. Boss agreed to it grudgingly. When I got back he was nasty and abusive toward me. It was so bad I had to quit. Turns out he was deeply jealous of my ability to get away.

So if you do it, I would keep the whole thing to yourself as much as possible. Be wary of unexpected, possibly unpleasant consequences.

It's a shame it has to be that way. Ain't human nature grand?
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:22 PM   #4
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I am 2 years into a sabbatical, though no chance of resuming first career and may start over in a completely different line of work, so I define it differently than you. Sabbatical sounds like a very good approach to me, work on the bucket list (before you're too old) and go back to work recharged.

Not being a wisea__ with this link, looks like several good links/articles here Let me google that for you
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Old 08-08-2013, 06:41 PM   #5
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I didn't sabbatical, I just retired.

If times get tough, I will set up the Steelyman Relief Fund.
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Old 08-08-2013, 07:26 PM   #6
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No long term sabbaticals for me but many trips abroad during the year, during which I either rest (trips to Europe) or volunteer (other parts of the world). I also tend to work fewer hours than some colleagues. So I guess I have many very short sabbaticals all the time, just enough to recharge :-)
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Old 08-08-2013, 07:55 PM   #7
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If I'd stayed at my previous firm I would have been entitled to a three month sabatical (on full pay) a couple of years ago. I'd even got to the stage where I was thinking about all the things I could do in three months. Since all partners were entitled to it, there was never an issue with taking it. Although moving firms got me to FI a little bit quicker, I still kinda regret losing that.
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:33 PM   #8
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I took a three-month, unpaid sabbatical at one point. Boss agreed to it grudgingly. When I got back he was nasty and abusive toward me. It was so bad I had to quit. Turns out he was deeply jealous of my ability to get away.

So if you do it, I would keep the whole thing to yourself as much as possible. Be wary of unexpected, possibly unpleasant consequences.

It's a shame it has to be that way. Ain't human nature grand?
Not sure all sabbaticals go this badly, but I would be prepared for others viewing you differently upon your return. Unless the sabbatical has a clear business-related purpose (e.g scholarly endeavors related to your field &/or firm, humanitarian project giving firm good PR, 'voluntary' to save firm $$ during slack business cycle, etc.), others may be jealous &/or question your 'dedication' for taking long time off.
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:38 PM   #9
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Before FIRE, I took leave without pay on several occasions because the time off was more valuable to me than the pay, and my bosses were amenable. I remember going on a 6-week bicycle trip which was a combination of accrued leave and leave without pay. (On my last job, I negotiated additional paid time off before I accepted the position.) Later during a couple of periods of unemployment, I took some time off before seriously looking for a new job. The way I used the time off varied: pursuit of what had been a long-distance relationship, travel, & studying a foreign language in another country.
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:45 PM   #10
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I asked for a 3 months unpaid leave and was denied.

Sure wish I could take one after 15 straight years of working. Grateful I haven't been laid off in 15 years...but wish I could take a break for 3 months so I can refresh myself instead of grinding it out everyday.
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Old 08-08-2013, 08:50 PM   #11
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I took an unpaid leave of absence when I was about 40. I spent the year traveling around the world. It was well worth it.
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Old 08-08-2013, 09:58 PM   #12
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I wish I could just take a sabbatical/leave of absence as a way to ease into ESR, but I am pretty certain my present employer would not go for it and I am leery of having strings attached when I get back. As such, I will just quit. Its cleaner since I would rather not come back anyway.
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Old 08-08-2013, 11:43 PM   #13
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I knew a guy at my last company who took a year off to sail around the world with his family. The company endorsed this as long as he came back and have presentations about what he learned that would benefit others in the company.
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Old 08-09-2013, 12:04 AM   #14
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As a self employed person I closed my business with the intention of taking a year off to go have a look around. I found enough to do that I never went back.
DW is a medical technologist. She found that it was easier for her to quit than to negotiate a leave of absence. So she did, - 4 times.
For us I can say without a doubt it was the right thing to do. Having a few years off when we were younger did just as you suggest. A fresh reboot.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:15 AM   #15
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I consider myself retired for good but I have to say that after about 3 months I looked back on the issues I encountered at w*rk and had a fresh perspective about them. I can definitely see how a sabattical could be beneficial to being more productive when you return.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:18 AM   #16
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I'm a university professor (not retired yet) so I've had sabbaticals every 7 years. We can take either 1/2 year at full pay plus regular benefits, or 1 year at half pay. Being frugal, I've taken the 1/2 year and it has been more than plenty for me. Of course, we are expected to do the research project we applied for, but the immersion in one's subject matter after the hassle of teaching and committee work is wonderful. It is, however, through these sabbaticals that I've come to realize that I will have to plan my retirement well to involve projects that will stimulate my mind as well as get me out of the house and with people most days. So it has been a worthwhile learning experience in more than one way.
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Old 08-09-2013, 10:47 AM   #17
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S.I.P. - Sabbatical in place...

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Old 08-09-2013, 12:13 PM   #18
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My employer officially offers unpaid leaves of absence for all employees up to a year long, once every 7 years. I do believe that if I am not laid off by the time I'm ready to retire, I won't quit my job right away but will instead take a leave of absence. That way if retirement doesn't suit me, I have the safety net there. Also, my benefits are continued throughout the LOA so that is nice to have.

I am personally too focused on early retirement to want to delay it by taking a mid-career sabbatical, but I can definitely see how it could be nice! If your employer supports that sort of thing.
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:12 PM   #19
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I wish I could just take a sabbatical/leave of absence as a way to ease into ESR, but I am pretty certain my present employer would not go for it and I am leery of having strings attached when I get back. As such, I will just quit. Its cleaner since I would rather not come back anyway.
My Megacorp did not have a sabbatical plan, but it did have a "dependent care leave of absence".

I took one year off with no pay or benefits with the agreement that I would likely be eligible for my job or a similar job upon my return. I took the leave to provide care for a relative who was having major surgery with ~ a 1 year recovery time.

As it turned out I ended up not going back after the leave and ended up resigning my position. Megacorp ceased all contributions to DB pensions during my absence and did not offer a consummate pay increase.

As it turned out, the leave of absence provided an excellent gateway to ER.

-gauss
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:19 PM   #20
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I'm a university professor (not retired yet) so I've had sabbaticals every 7 years. We can take either 1/2 year at full pay plus regular benefits, or 1 year at half pay. Being frugal, I've taken the 1/2 year and it has been more than plenty for me. Of course, we are expected to do the research project we applied for, but the immersion in one's subject matter after the hassle of teaching and committee work is wonderful. It is, however, through these sabbaticals that I've come to realize that I will have to plan my retirement well to involve projects that will stimulate my mind as well as get me out of the house and with people most days. So it has been a worthwhile learning experience in more than one way.
I think many don't realize how hard profs work, they think they just show up and teach a few hours of class a week. No, there are students to supervise, papers to review, commitees to attend, and grant proposals to write.

Good for you!
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