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Sabbatical or Career Break, tips How to Decide what’s Right for You?

02 Dec 2019


Career Break

Sabbatical or Career Break, tips How to Decide what’s Right for You?

Sabbatical or Career break, it simply means taking time off your employment. But, both are not the same though these terms sound similar and used interchangeably.


Sabbatical refers to a temporary break from employment for a specific period, either short term or long term. The nature of sabbatical differs from employer to employer. The reason for a sabbatical could be many such as taking off from the monotony of daily grind, involving in community services, serving in the army for a temporary period, etc. Let’s now look into the details that need to be considered before considering sabbatical.
  • If you are considering a sabbatical, you must know that you will not be entitled to compensation and other benefits that you may get while serving the employer. So, it is important to have another source of income in place before you opt for a sabbatical.
  • One must send a written request to HR department to seek approval. Sabbatical without approval is not legally correct. The employee is bind by the HR laws. Further, the period of the sabbatical may differ for every company.
  • It is also important to note that it is at the discretion of the company to allow sabbatical depending on factors like the criticality of the work, finding a replacement to take over your role during your absence.
  • Before going on a sabbatical, it is a must to train the person and handover him or her, duties and responsibilities of your job role. This makes the transition easier for you and the employer.
  • You will not lose the employment opportunity during your sabbatical period. You will have the option to make a comeback within the stipulated time as mentioned in the company’s policies.
While considering a comeback after the sabbatical, you need to follow a few things to make the process easy for yourself.
  • These days change takes place every other day, so, there could be a technology change or work policies change. Therefore, you must first find out what all have changed during your absence.
  • There could be some skill gaps that you need to bridge by staying relevant to the industry.
  • Since you were away from work, you might have to resume with the same pay package until you travel that gap and recreate a niche for yourself.
  • You can take up a few online courses to keep up with the industry development and the way the corporate sector is evolving.
  • Professional networking sites like LinkedIn acts as a learning platform. You can touch base with the people with similar career profiles and get to learn from their experience by engaging with them. You can also get mentored by them or seek career guidance to fast track your professional growth.

Career Break

While sabbatical is a voluntary break, a career break can be both, i.e. voluntary and involuntary. A voluntary career break can be due to reasons such as pregnancy and choice to be a stay at home mum or other personal reasons. An involuntary break can be because of being fired by the companies. For an instance- recently 200 senior-level managers were laid off by Cognizant Technologies. They cited incompetence in adapting changing needs as the main reason for firing these employees. Whether it is a voluntary break or involuntary career break, it can be daunting on the employee, especially in terms of emotional and financial needs. Since time immemorial we have been watching mom sacrificing their blooming career to cater to the needs of the family. Some men also take career breaks depending on personal and professional situations. If you are considering a career break, you must weigh the pros and cons of the same.
  • Career break means you are completely resigning or leaving the employment. Before you put in your papers, know about the company’s policies regarding serving the notice period. Ideally, a permanent employee has to serve the notice period of a month or two depending upon the job role. However, if you are still serving the probation period, it could be lesser, but again check this in HR policies.
  • Do not forget to collect your dues from the company including the service certificate. This is proof of your employment and conduct during your tenure. Also, this helps while seeking employment after a break.
  • If you are financially sound and safe, you won’t have to worry about anything. In case you’re not, plan your finances well as losing employment would cease you off a large chunk of money termed as ‘salary’.
  • Hand over all the data and assets of the company that you may possess during your tenure to carry roles and responsibilities. This relieves you from stress as you will not be legally bound by anything. If you don’t, the company may act upon the same and sometimes may lead to legal proceedings.
Initially, career breaks feel beautiful and relieved, but as time lapses it can be boring and depressive. So, there comes a point in life when you would want to resume your career. Now, this is a challenging phase depending on the number of months or years of break. The following are some useful tips which will make you sail through this period.
  • Well before you consider restarting your career, it is advisable to study the job market and your field of expertise. In the digital are things are moving and changing at a swift rate.
  • Now that you have assessed the industry, it is time to assess your skills. Create a list of skills that you already possess and add the new skills that you may need.
  • How would you bridge the skill gap? Look for courses or certifications from recognized institutions. Enroll yourself and go for a course either short term or long term depending on how soon would you like to take up a job role?
  • With relevant skills, it is time for you now to work on your RESUME. Take the help of professional Resume Writers or builders.  In the age of artificial intelligence, there are BOTS such as Resume Worded that give you insights on your resumes and areas of improvement.
  • Apply online in talent hunt platforms or job portals.
  • Next, strengthen your LinkedIn profile; keep the “looking for career” tab open to allow recruiters to view your profile. Make new connections, post on LinkedIn stating you are open to job opportunities. This is a huge platform where there are thousands of recruiters and top-level managers who keep their eyes open to spot talent.
  • For women, there are many companies such as Morgan Stanley and others who have come up with Career 2.0. This allows women to rebuild their professional life after a break.
  • Last but not the least; do not consider LinkedIn as just a job portal. It is a platform to connect and network. Such networking helps in getting career guidance and getting noticed in this competitive world.
To sum it up, do not lose hope even when you get rejected. Weather sabbatical or career break, getting back to work is a herculean task, but not impossible. March ahead with self-confidence and positive vibes. There are many women who have made it and are successful. Success is just a few steps ahead, keep walking. How to overcome unemployment 

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