Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORK-LIFE BALANCE / DEC. 03, 2014
version 5, draft 5

Could You Take a Jobbatical?

A new Baltic start-up is paving the way for working sabbaticals to become a more mainstream concept. If you’re intrigued by the idea, read on, to see if a Jobbatical experience could suit you.

Seeking an experience - not a job

The idea behind Jobbatical comes come the personal experience of the founder, Karoli Hindriks, who took a sabbatical from her job as a TV Executive. Having quickly realised that time off lazing on a beach didn’t suit her, she set about finding challenging and interesting work outside of her normal day job, which she could get involved in. This would give her the best of both worlds - a chance to travel and see somewhere new, meet interesting and inspiring people, learn new skills, and then return refreshed to the normal business of work. However, she found that sabbatical jobs were aimed at either teenage gap year travellers or new graduates seeking internships - and little was available for a mid career professional seeking a different experience. In the end, Karoli took herself to Silicon Valley and found a working sabbatical with a start-up there. She started to research whether there were other people out there who similarly sought different short term working opportunities as part of a planned career break or sabbatical - and discovered that this was not uncommon.

The value of flexible benefits

More and more companies - both large corporations and smaller family firms - offer sabbaticals as one part of a flexible benefits package for employees. These are most commonly unpaid, although there are a precious few who go so far as to pay employees to take time off. The reason behind it is simple - holding onto talented employees in a difficult market is crucial to the success of a business, and allowing high potential team members to take a short time off work to recharge their batteries is a far better choice for business than forcing them to choose all or nothing - resulting in great people resigning.

Travel without depleting the life savings

Given the opportunities to take a sabbatical or career break, many people would love to travel and visit new places. However, this can be a drain on resources, to the point that it might even put you off arranging a sabbatical at all. This is where the idea of a working sabbatical, or Jobbatical, comes into play. Instead of travelling exclusively, which doesn’t suit many career minded people, used to being busy all day, anyway, a working sabbatical somewhere away from home can be a great alternative. An opportunity to get to know new people and places, in a more meaningful way than simply as a tourist visitor, whilst working in an inspiring short term job, can tick all the right boxes.

A win win solution

And the beauty of this idea, also, lies in the fact that it is a win win solution for the employee and employer. The employee takes a short time off work, but during this time manages to relax, work in a new and cross cultural environment, learn new skills and come back to their regular day job some time later armed with loads of new ideas, refreshed and ready to get stuck in again. During their absence, their business can develop new employees who step up to fill the gap, supporting the long term succession planning of the organisation; and the opportunity to take sabbatical leave can also be a useful tool in attracting and retaining top talent in any sector. With potential benefits to all involved, it is easy to see why the idea is gaining popularity. If you’re mulling over your plans right now for 2015, why not consider a working sabbatical as a unique way to refresh, relax and further your longer term career prospects.

 

Image source:BBC

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