Sabbatical Year: Everything you need to know
Taking a break from stressful everyday life is what many employees want. It is possible with a sabbatical because this type of special leave offers a flexible working time model.
What is a sabbatical?
The term “sabbatical year” is generally understood to mean a professional break. The term can be traced back historically to the Jewish Torah, according to which fields and vineyards should not be sown or tilled every seven years. The Hebrew word “sabat” can also be translated as “pause” or “rest”. In the historical context, a sabbatical year is a time of self-prescribed rest.
The sabbatical year in today’s sense goes back to the US-American higher education system. Teachers at universities there have the opportunity to take a temporary leave of absence from teaching in order to devote themselves to their research activities. Since the sabbatical year, starting from American universities has now spread to universities all over the world, the English term “sabbatical” is also very widespread. Sabbaticals these days are no longer limited to the academic world. They have also found widespread use in the private sector.
Opportunities for a sabbatical
There are no limits to the possibilities for your sabbatical year. Depending on the reasons for which you decide to take a break, you can use your sabbatical for different things. The most popular ways to design a sabbatical year include:
- Long trips, such as a trip around the world. In this way, you can immerse yourself intensively in new cultures and possibly also make valuable contacts.
- Extension of parental leave to take care of your children intensively.
- Caring for family members.
- Time to pursue personal goals and projects. Building your own home and taking care of your hobbies, such as writing a book, is particularly popular here.
- Time for self-discovery through seminars or courses (such as a yoga retreat).
- Professional or private further education, for example, through various courses that help you to reorient your career.
Benefits of a sabbatical year
Employees who have taken a sabbatical year usually return to work stronger: they have often taken part in further training courses, have gained experience abroad, have learned languages or improved their language skills, have gained new and motivating experiences, etc. All of this can lead to the “returnees” returning to work relaxed, strengthened, and with new ideas and thus becoming more valuable for the company.
Sabbatical on the résume
A gap in the curriculum vitae can raise lots of questions by any employer and must therefore be well justified. Therefore, in the run-up to your sabbatical year, be clear about what you want to achieve with your time off and how it could affect future employers.
With further training during your sabbatical, you can collect plus points with a new employer. But many companies also like to see social engagement and travel in the sense of “broadening their horizons”. Your sabbatical could only become problematic if you don’t do anything during this period. This could leave a future employer with the impression of a lack of motivation or even laziness. It is best to explain why you needed the time off and what goals you achieved.