In the past, sabbaticals only applied to universities whereby for every 5-7yrs of work, a lecturer would be granted a paid leave for a year. Today, companies are slowly but steadily adapting to this form of leave for their workers. This comes in the wake of globalization of major companies as worker's rights are fine-tuned to global standards. For some of us, a sabbatical may come when we least expect it. The last thing we would want is to become lazy and thus tumble into a career slumber. Which brings us to the question, how do we avoid stagnation in our careers when going on a Sabbatical?
#1 Become an Associate Lecturer
If you are really talented and renowned in your career, it's highly likely that companies, religious organizations, non-governmental organizations and universities will invite you for professional workshops and forums to participate as a chief guest and deliver a speech. There's also the possibility of contractual engagement as an associate lecturer whereby you can share with students the ideals and values you've gained in your career journey. This will definitely serve to boost your reputation as an informed careerist in your field.
#2 Become an Intern in Another Country
Becoming an intern in your own country wouldn't paint a really good picture of you since it's highly likely that you'll end up working for your company's competitor. Plus, poaching of talent from other companies has become an accepted norm these days since you'll find yourself being given an offer to good to resist. On the other hand, working in another country eradicates such potentially disastrous possibilities. You'll also have peace of mind and your loyalty to your company won't be compromised. A good example is the English Premier League whereby footballers are likely to be loaned to football teams outside the UK. All in all, working in another country brings in wealth of experience and exposure which ultimately boosts your career credentials.
#3 Become a Volunteer
Life doesn't always have to be about profiteering and sometimes, it's wise to give back to the community. I have personally met professionals from China, Netherlands, Canada and even the UK coming to Kenya to work in children's homes. Others work in Nairobi-based organizations that support a worthy cause such as fighting for women's rights, eradicating poverty in slums, environmental conservation, tribal cohesion and so forth. There are vast opportunities particularly in third world countries to give back to the community.
#4 Apply for Short-term Vocational training
Many careerists with years of experience and expertise have sadly missed on key promotions simply because their academic credentials were in question. This would be the perfect opportunity for you to be fully engaged in 2-3 short-term vocational training courses. Many companies are also known to give loyal employees scholarships to further their studies so this would be the perfect opportunity to take advantage of such an offer. This would indeed be a key upgrade in expanding career prospects at your disposal.
#5 Try out a Viable Entrepreneurial Venture
For many careerists, the reason as to why they can't engage in entrepreneurial ventures is simply because their careers demand a lot of their time. However, a sabbatical leaves a lot of prime time at your disposal to research on viable business ventures that you can engage in. A sabbatical would also be the perfect opportunity for those who have the knack for entrepreneurship to put their savings into good use. Ultimately, you'll have to be psychologically prepared for business cycles, funding inefficiencies and other challenges that basically constitute many business start-ups.
#6 Acquaint Yourself with Career Mentors and Key Industry Players
There are various avenues in which one can meet and engage with industry players such as career camps, workshops, expos and so forth. Familiarization with the cream of the crop has always been proven to be an effective tool for preserving your job during industry shake-ups. It also gives you viable options in case of sudden loss of your job. The ultimate benefit of it all is that you gain the much needed mentorship and wisdom to make informed career decisions in the future.
#7 Have Concise, Concrete and Realistic Goals
Every year, we make a myriad of resolutions. While some resolutions are fulfilled, others are simply forgotten along the way since they prove to be unrealistic and thus unachievable. It's therefore wise to make a viable and informed decision regarding what you want to do during your sabbatical year to ensure fulfillment of something meaningful for your career advancement. Simple measures such as having a diary, marking dates on your calendar and having a reminder would be quite effective in ensuring discipline and efficiency and effectiveness in achieving your sabbatical objectives.
In the Jewish Sabbath, one is required to rest in observance of the law. As for a career sabbatical however, you can't afford to rest since this time frame presents the perfect opportunity to try out something different, outstanding and outside the box. It would thus be a total waste to do the same things you've been doing during your career engagement. In the end, you not only avoid career stagnation, but you also get the chance to take your career credentials to new heights.
Image sourced: Sabbatical