CAREER DEVELOPMENT / JUN. 22, 2014
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How to Decide Whether a Career Sabbatical is the Right Career Step

Career sabbaticals usually apply to employees who've worked in a company for roughly 7 years or more. It's basically a year during which you're on paid leave. In that duration, you're expected to engage in extra-curricular activities that will significantly boost your career reputation. However, to avoid haphazardly jumping into a career sabbatical, the following questions should help us decide as to whether it is the right career step.

#1 Have you been experiencing Career Stagnation for a Long Time Now?
For some of us, the career step we took many years ago was mean't to propel us to a higher playing field of opportunities, work experience, career development and exposure to key industry players. These strategic options have now been fully exhausted and your career progress has plateaued for a number of years without end. Maybe it's about time you called for some time-out by taking a career sabbatical to re-strategize, re-organize and adjust your career roadmap to experience more career growth with a revamped career plan.

#2 Are you confused regarding the next Career Move you should make?
Many lucrative career opportunities are being offered to you day by day because of an exceptional talent that you've got. They keep coming and passing you by simply because you're confused about the next career move you should make. Moreover, hopping from job to job might compromise on your loyalty and wrongfully create the impression that you're a shallow opportunist. Remember, you've dedicated a significant amount of your career life to your current company and your loyalty was cultivated by the fact that you've experienced career progress year after year. But still, there are career moves at your disposal that would sky-rocket your career progress by leaps and bounds. This has also affected your performance in the workplace and the evidence is clearly visible. A career sabbatical might be the perfect opportunity to consult widely before conclusively deciding on your next career move.

#3 Are you constantly fatigued, stressed out and frustrated in the workplace?
Your career progress has always been at par with the time-line of your career goals. The salary and company benefits are satisfactory and you've experienced career development year after year. But still, your career is taking a toll on your personal life. For instance, the tasks may have become demanding after a recent promotion and this has encroached on your family time. Maybe sleepless nights have become the order of the day for almost a year now after dedicating countless extra-hours to meet clientèle demands. Such factors will definitely affect your energy in the workplace and thus lead to a consistent decline in your work performance. This might ultimately lead to threats from your boss about losing your job. It would therefore be the perfect opportunity for you to go for a career sabbatical to not only relieve the stress, but to also put such set-backs into serious consideration when restrategizing on your future career goals.

#4 Do you feel the need for Career Development through exploration of different Global Cultures?
Has your company clientèle recently diversified to an international market? Have such international markets proven to be promising enough to open up local branches in the respective countries? Is there a possibility that you'll be given as supervisory role in a foreign country as the company seeks to diversify its network beyond borders? Then it's about time you took a career sabbatical since it would be the perfect opportunity to not only acclimatise to new cultures, but to also to learn some foreign languages and study different market trends as an added advantage for your career development.

#5 Do future prospective promotions call for a significant boost in your Academic Credentials?
A prudent careerist carefully observes company trends and is ten steps ahead when a promotion comes knocking. He does this by observing the human resource trends within the company and knows before-hand that a lucrative job vacancy will present itself after a certain number of years. The careerist then goes ahead and requests for a career sabbatical which is fully dedicated to pursuing prerequisite studies relevant to the supposed prospective vacancy. That way, when the lucrative vacancy presents itself and the company directors do an internal human resource audit, the prudent careerist will come highly recommended.

#6 Is it Time to reward yourself for achieving your Career Goals?
It has been a long, gruelling and strenuous career journey and finally after many years, your career goals have been achieved. Your admirable dedication, unflinching discipline, focused determination and hard work has finally paid off and now, a void of career goals has presented itself. A career sabbatical would be the perfect opportunity for you to strategise on a new career blueprint, consult career mentors, bond with industry gurus and explore more lucrative opportunities available at your disposal.

#7 Is Retirement or retrenchment around the corner
No one likes losing their job even if the retirement age has arrived. Unfortunately, many who lose their jobs are usually caught off-guard and are thus confused about the next career step to take. However, as I emphasized earlier, a prudent careerist is usually steps ahead when it comes to looking at the job market forecast. We've seen economic experts on TV, newspapers and blogs discuss about the future of various industries. If you know that you might end up being retrenched or retired in the near future, then it's about time you requested for a career sabbatical to assess available options. For some, entrepreneurship might prove to be a very effective career step while for others, their skills might be quite useful in another field altogether.

A career sabbatical can be useful beyond the factors we've discussed above and doesn't necessarily have to involve career prospects. For instance, a chronic illness that's about to claim someone's life would call for them to take a career sabbatical to spend their final precious moments with friends and family before getting back to work. The bottom line still remains that a career sabbatical can prove to be a major game changer if you've got a good reason for taking it. Otherwise, being a couch potato during a career sabbatical would be the greatest tragedy for such a precious duration of time.

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