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Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-29-2004, 11:01 AM   #1
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Sabbaticals from work

I've been lurking on this forum for a few months and want to thank everyone for the good advice and interesting conversation. A topic I haven't seen brought up is sabbaticals. I'm 30 and so have a while to go before ER but I find I'm anxious for more free time now. The idea of a sabbatical now and then appeals to me. It seems like a good way to 'test the waters' and see if retirement is really for me. Have any of you done this? Have you found that potential employers after the sabbatical frown at a 6 or 12 month gap in your work history?

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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-29-2004, 11:40 AM   #2
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

I think if I ever took a 1 year sabbatical I would never be able to go back to work again. It almost happened to me when I took a 3 week vacation a couple of times.
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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-29-2004, 12:36 PM   #3
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

I sorta took a sabbatical at age 30. (I'm 34 now.) I burned out in one job, hired on at a company that went under and decided to take 1-3 months off to figure out who I was and where I was going. 1-3 months stretched into about 6 months when I ran out of money and only then did I look for work...while living on credit. This was late 2000 and the job market was hideous, and I don't consider myself good at looking for work.

I had experience and certifications and a 2-year degree but wasn't getting callbacks. I suspect the time off affected my job hunt, but I had never professionally job hunted (as apposed to applying for unskilled jobs) so I may have presented my resume poorly or perhaps I was overreaching my experience, or maybe it was the job climate at the time.

It was a rough time for me that I could've handled better, but I learned a LOT and wouldn't undo it if I could. Before I quit the first job I had already noticed something was wrong because I had less money than I did when I made half as much. Aside from the money burn and the ego brusing job hunt I really enjoyed the time off and had no problem occupying and entertaining myself. I learned a lot about personal finance and investing and stumbled upon the concept of ER. What a concept. I can't wait.

Now that I have my financial house in order (debt free and spending well below my means--woohoo!) I would also like to find out if one can take sabbaticals without too much damage to job prospects.
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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-29-2004, 04:26 PM   #4
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

My husband took a 6-week unpaid sabbatical in the spring of this year. He was pretty burned out and fed up with his job and wanted to recharge his batteries a bit before going back to work. As it happens, taking the time off helped him get his head out of the rut of daily work and he ended up getting (and accepting) a great job offer, so we relocated to the west coast! (He still wants to RE, but in the meantime he is enjoying his job a whole lot more and making more money too, so we're building up the nest egg faster.) So it was a really good thing for him to do!

The time off just reinforced the idea that ER is *definitely* for us. We enjoy being together all day, and we both have lots of projects and things to do. Work just tends to get in the way, y'know? But we already knew that... The one nice surprise was that our net worth just leveled off during the 6-8 weeks of unpaid time (between the sabbatical and moving) - it didn't go up, but it didn't go down either! (The only income was some freelance stuff from me.)

As for me... I have had an odd assortment of jobs, so I seem to end up with a sabbatical here and there just by the way things work out! It would be stressful if we counted on my income, but as it is, anything I bring in is just extra savings, so it's fine. I'm hoping to eventually get a gig as a college professor (it's what I'm educated for, and I genuinely enjoy it) - one of the benefits of that is the built-in summer sabbatical!
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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-30-2004, 04:41 AM   #5
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

I took about six weeks off last summer when our daughter was born. Not only did I get a rare chance to focus entirely on family, I also had one of the most productive months (in terms of actual physical labor) of my life. Great experience.

Sunrise in the flower garden, coffee, baby in my lap, cell phone switched off...a great ER test-drive.

I realize the FMLA isn't the same as a sabbatical benefit, but if you need some time off, if you have some sort of life-changing event, and if you have a simpatico employer, it can be a good thing.

Ed
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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-30-2004, 05:44 AM   #6
 
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

I started working full time right out of high school,
and had several "unplanned" sabbaticals, at ages
32, 36, and 43. I enjoyed them all. I always found
unemployment to be most agreeable

JG
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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-30-2004, 05:48 AM   #7
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

I was laid off from my last job in August 2003 and hubby absolutely LOATHED where he was working at the time. So....he came up with a great plan: he quit work and we traveled about 6 weeks throughout Europe. It was great and probably the only chance we would have had to do that since we are trying to start a family.

After we came back home, he did some consulting work and I found another full time job. He is now full time at the same company that he was doing the consulting work for and he loves the people that he works with now. Luckily, everything kind of worked out in the end and it was a great way for us to recharge.
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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-30-2004, 09:10 AM   #8
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

Hi All! I have a question:
Is it possible to collect unemployment if you leave a job due to health reasons? My DBF is experiencing uncontrollable blood pressure spikes due to the pressure and stress from his current career. :P He would need time and probably training to change careers...is there anything offered by unemployment that could help?
Thanks!
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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-30-2004, 12:51 PM   #9
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

Adventuregirl, it varies by state, but generally you must lose work through no fault of your own, be available to accept work, and participate in a job search. There are exceptions. Here is a link to Iowa's unemployment compensation rules to give you an idea of what is involved. Your state probably has an online description that is similar:

http://www.iowaworkforce.org/ui/70-6200.pdf

If your BF's disability prevents him from retaining employment, he may qualify for Vocational Rehabilitation services in your state. He could probably get most of his training expenses covered through VR, Pell Grant, etc., but few get enough to pay living expenses and must rely on savings, loans, and/or a spouse working during the time it takes to be retrained. Many do it though, and most are glad they did once it's all done. Some VR programs also offer financial assistance to establish a small business.
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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-30-2004, 02:53 PM   #10
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

Sounds like a lot of you have had positive sabbaticals... some even returning to a higher paying career! I like JohnGalt's idea of taking multiple sabbaticals during my career (although I think i'll do my best to make them planned ). Seems like a good way to keep me motivated toward that longer term ER goal.
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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-31-2004, 07:53 AM   #11
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

Quote:
Hi All! I have a question:
Is it possible to collect unemployment if you leave a job due to health reasons? My DBF is experiencing uncontrollable blood pressure spikes due to the pressure and stress from his current career. :P He would need time and probably training to change careers...is there anything offered by unemployment that could help?
Thanks!
Adventuregirl
If the health problem is in fact due to work, it is possible your DBF is eligible for workers compensation payments. This should be checked out before he leaves the job.

Martha
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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-31-2004, 08:01 AM   #12
 
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

Just to add to Martha's good advice. I do not know
of any instances where someone collected
unemployment comp. solely due to a health problem. I have
lived in several states and been an employee and an employer. Normally you have to be ready and willing to
work in order to collect U.C. Of course, many find a way to "game the system".

JG
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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-31-2004, 09:48 AM   #13
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

Does anyone know what happens with your health insurance if you take a 2 to 4 month sabbatical?

Do companies typically continue to cover you and who picks up the cost for those months?

Even if you have to pay for your insurance, could this be a way to extend your insurance coverage if you return and then give notice several months later. This would give you 4 (sabbatical) + 18 (cobra) monhs of coverage.

MJ
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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-31-2004, 11:45 AM   #14
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

Quote:
If the health problem is in fact due to work, it is possible your DBF is eligible for workers compensation payments. *This should be checked out before he leaves the job.
The workers comp system in Iowa is so bad that a coworker and I promised each other that if one of us was injured on the job, the other would drag his carcass off the premises. There are so many problems with the system here that we wanted to avoid it at all costs.

For one thing, in Iowa the employer chooses your doctor. They force you to go to some company hack who will swear your injury/illness had nothing to do with work, or that you're faking. These guys are trained to believe that every worker is gaming the system. They have no conscience, no heart, and they're often poor physicians. So you're stuck using a physician nobody would choose to go to, who isn't on your side. If you think GW Bush is pro-bigshot and anti-little guy, just multiply that by ten, and that would be pretty close to the physician who will provide your "care". He'll be about that bright too. So unless you lose an arm, or some other injury that is indisputable, you're screwed. Then the insurance company will stonewall until the injured worker gives up and accepts a measly settlement which is supposed to cover all future medical costs related to that injury or illness, and your private carrier health insurance carrier will refuse to cover anything related to that.

I've seen a great many unsophisticated workers get chewed up and spit out of that system. It's completely worthless here, and when I was working, I truly would have done anything to avoid it. I didn't see it as a benefit at all, in that almost every worker I encountered ended up with very little in the way of compensation that wasn't consumed by medical bills. If they had just used their health insurance they'd have been better off, IMO. Other states are probably a great deal different, so be sure you know what you're doing before accessing that system in your state. Talk to injured workers.
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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-31-2004, 12:47 PM   #15
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

At least 10 or 15 years ago, Washington was also hopeless. It may have improved, but I doubt it!

My wife was a church music director and organist. She was physically attacked while practicing by a schizophrenic janitor whom the chuch had hired in spite of his history of hospitalization. Muscles in her shoulder were torn. Playing a pipe organ is physically demanding. The maniac admitted that he attacked her because he couldn't stand the music.

Yet she wound up having to pay out of pocket in order to get any helpful care beyond the acute situation.

Taught me two things. Don't trust workmen's comp; and stay out of churches.

mikey
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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-31-2004, 12:55 PM   #16
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

Workers Compensation is another instance where Minnesota likely beats the rest of your states-
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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-31-2004, 01:25 PM   #17
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

Martha, another coworker came to Iowa from Minnesota. She couldn't believe how much better the workers comp system was in Minnesota.
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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-31-2004, 02:31 PM   #18
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

Quote:
Does anyone know what happens with your health insurance if you take a 2 to 4 month sabbatical?

Do companies typically continue to cover you and who picks up the cost for those months?

Even if you have to pay for your insurance, could this be a way to extend your insurance coverage if you return and then give notice several months later. This would give you 4 (sabbatical) + 18 (cobra) monhs of coverage.

MJ

In most cases if you are currently employed your firm may grant you a sabbatical but they will not guarantee your job. They will have to hire someone to replace you and may not need you when you return. You will continue benefits but have to pay for them.

There is a Federal law that permits 3 months off from work for family related issues. (ie. taking care of a sick relative). In that case the company must hold your job for 3 months.

In regards to Live Well's question

Have you found that potential employers after the sabbatical frown at a 6 or 12 month gap in your work history?

I think for a 30 year old guy/gal most firms would frown upon a 6-12 month gap. I really depends on why.
If it was used because you had an opportunity to travel the world and experience many new things it should be OK.

A year off to drink beer in the park won't go over too well.


Happy new year to all
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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-31-2004, 03:43 PM   #19
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

Thanks GTM.

If they gave me a sabbatical which I doubt they would, since I have become somewhat expendable, it would work to my favor as it would gave me reduced group health coverage in addition to the 18 month Cobra insurance.

MJ
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Re: Sabbaticals from work
Old 12-31-2004, 04:14 PM   #20
 
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Re: Sabbaticals from work

Re. "how much better the workers comp system was in Minnesota". Better for whom? Minnesota is a liberal state, only too happy to shower everyone with money
if they claim to have suffered some slight. It is highly
appropriate for Cut-Throat to reside there. It's a shame really,
as it is a beautiful state except for the politics.

JG
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