Author Topic: Sabbatical Anyone?? Please share your experiences!  (Read 4004 times)

FrugalZony

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1447
Sabbatical Anyone?? Please share your experiences!
« on: October 09, 2015, 05:45:03 PM »
So I am planning on asking my company for a sabbatical next year. As a FIRE Trial run.
For various practical reasons I cannot / do not want to ask before May 1st 2016 if I can avoid it.
But I just may have to ask earlier.
I have done quite a bit of research on various websites that offer ebooks and other resources.
But I was wondering if any of my fellow MMM folks have any experience to share.

My company does not offer sabbaticals officially, just FMLA of up to three months, for which you will have to prove certain things.
So I guess, I'll be the first to try and negotiate. My plan is for 1 year.


So I'd be curious to hear about your experiences.

Have you asked?
What was your reasoning?
How have you negotiated?
Did you get your company to continue paying your healthcare?
Any words of wisdom?

FIREby35

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 611
Re: Sabbatical Anyone?? Please share your experiences!
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2015, 06:41:22 AM »
I'm posting to follow. I am batting around sabbatical ideas for sometime within the next 18 months. I've obviously not taken it already so I can't tell you my experience. Also, I am a small business owner. So, I'm not so worried about getting approval. But I am very worried about making sure my business doesn't collapse while I am gone. I'm trying to get a stable team together that can work without me for 3 months or with only occasional phone calls from me.

tonysemail

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 725
  • Location: San Jose, CA
Re: Sabbatical Anyone?? Please share your experiences!
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2015, 08:36:42 AM »
posting to follow.  a sabbatical sure sounds nice.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 27944
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Sabbatical Anyone?? Please share your experiences!
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2015, 12:03:12 PM »
My company does not offer sabbaticals officially, just FMLA of up to three months, for which you will have to prove certain things.
So I guess, I'll be the first to try and negotiate. My plan is for 1 year.

I know you mentioned in your journal that your boss was not supportive of the idea when you brought it up recently.

Have you planned out how you want it to go, and what you'll say if it doesn't go as you want, when you formally request it?

What will you do if they say no?  If they offer just a month, or three?
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

jd

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • Location: Canada
Re: Sabbatical Anyone?? Please share your experiences!
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2015, 02:35:41 AM »
I worked for a company that had a sabbatical policy in place.  I asked for a few months off (a few weeks of which was accrued vacation) to do some traveling and volunteer work.  I didn't have much opportunity to negotiate, as the request was sent off to upper management, and the denial was sent back to my manager.  I may have had better luck if my plans had more benefit to the company (i.e. some sort of training).

I was disappointed at first, but the rejection worked out for the best, as it gave me an excuse to resign from an unpleasant work environment, I got my vacation time paid out, and I ended up taking about a year off.  If taking a sabbatical is something you really want to do, don't let your work (or anything else) stop you.

Playing with Fire UK

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2576
Re: Sabbatical Anyone?? Please share your experiences!
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2015, 04:41:18 AM »
At my work, I would only ask for a sabatical if I would be happy to leave if they said no. But my company is set in its ways and asking for a sabatical would limit my chances here for good.

rjg

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 83
Re: Sabbatical Anyone?? Please share your experiences!
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2015, 02:41:43 PM »
I took a 3 month sabbatical and a year later took a 3 month fmla leave at my old company. No regrets although I could tell my boss wasn't too happy about it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Christiana

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 173
    • Zatera Ul
Re: Sabbatical Anyone?? Please share your experiences!
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2015, 03:25:55 PM »
In my experience and research, a sabbatical often involves less or different work, as opposed to no work. There is also a shift in focus away from striving to get ahead, toward rest and getting yourself re-oriented so you're working toward the right thing.

Practically, you could propose changing your work schedule or role within your company for a year. Some companies have allowed their employees to take service sabbaticals, which generate good publicity for the company. Or go and learn something that is useful to your employer.

I'm not sure what a sabbatical can teach you about FIRE; a sabbatical is, essentially, a temporary situation where you coast along on savings and on whatever income crops up at the time. The financial side of FIRE can be tested by running various scenarios through spreadsheets.  If you're very near FIRE (within five years or so), I'd say push on, and then let your first year of retirement be a sabbatical where you adjust to your new lifestyle.

Clarify your goals for the sabbatical, and then maybe the way to make it happen will become more clear.

Link to my sabbatical book (very Christianity-based):  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/242530, free 15% sample of the ebook available there.

No Name Guy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 450
  • Location: Western Washington
Re: Sabbatical Anyone?? Please share your experiences!
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2015, 08:28:11 PM »
Quote
Have you asked?
What was your reasoning?
How have you negotiated?
Did you get your company to continue paying your healthcare?
Any words of wisdom?

 - Yes.

 - Wanted to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, all of it, in one shot.

 - There was no negotiating necessary.  If they said no, then I would have quit.  Other companies in the industry were hiring at the time, so post hike I would have worked for one of them.  After a few years, I would have come back to original employer.

 - The policy for sabbaticals for "personal" reasons (e.g. any leave not mandated by law, like FMLA) is that the company keep paying for the health plan for 3 months.  After that, it was COBRA.  Seeing as my sabbatical was 6 months long, I simply budgeted for paying COBRA for 3 months as part of the cost of the hike.

 - Words of Wisdom:  Have a concrete purpose for the sabbatical.  Taking a year off to "find yourself" without a plan of how to do that would be horrible (yay....a year of loafing around, joy, joy).  In my case, I had a personal mission to accomplish - to walk from Mexico to Canada.  There was plenty of "reflection" time in there, of course - when you're hiking 12 hours a day, day in day out, there's plenty of time to think about things.  One of my takeaways from that hike is the desire to RE so I can do things like that any time I want.  Some time after I went back to work, I was hunting around the web for early retirement stuff and found Jacob and ERE and the rest is history, so to speak.

As a side note:  One hiker I met back then has structured their entire life around the annual sabbatical.  They found an employer that is willing to cut them loose every summer for ~3 months or so, so they can go hiking.  The other 9 months of the year, this person works and saves to pay for the next summer's hike.

cats

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1142
Re: Sabbatical Anyone?? Please share your experiences!
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2015, 09:53:46 PM »
My husband took a sabbatical to hike the Pacific Crest Trail also.  In his case, he was pretty unhappy at the job, so he just resigned and was basically voluntarily "unemployed" for a year.  There was some negotiation on his company's part to try to get him to stay but it would have taken quite a bit to change his mind. He spent the summer hiking and then the remaining time on doing some online coursework and tweaking his skillset a bit, and then got a new job.

In his case healthcare was not a huge concern because his loyal wife continued to work and her job came with excellent health care benefits that she was happy to include him on :)

Anyway, I guess my point is, go for it!  You can always just quit and find a new job in a year if they say no.  I'll admit I was a bit (er, maybe a lot) freaked out by the whole thing initially, but in retrospect it was a really awesome year and sometimes I still wish he was unemployed because it was so much easier to find time for us than it is when we have two jobs to contend with.  It definitely provided some incentive to FIRE!

FrugalZony

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1447
Re: Sabbatical Anyone?? Please share your experiences!
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2015, 11:31:18 AM »
Thanks all for your answers and input!

I found out that my company does not officially offer sabaticals, just FMLA.
I also found out that my boss would not be supportive of a sabbatical.

I have decided to wait a little and still submit a written proposal next year.
I'd be happy to be their precedent case ;)
After all, when you google my employer's name and sabatical you find employer profiles on hiring websites
that claim we offer such a thing, although HR says we don't. Kinda false advertising if you ask me.

So I will keep quiet for the time being and when my timeframe approaches, I will hand in a proposal.
I am however prepared to just walk, in case they say no. And it's a safe guess to assume that that will happen.
It took me a while to realise that I actually would do that, as I have been with this company for 17 years and was looking for ways to hang on a little longer for added safety.

Please all keep experiences and suggestions coming, it's obvious by the number of views this topic has, that there's a lot of forum members out there who are interested in this topic.

AZDude

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1298
Re: Sabbatical Anyone?? Please share your experiences!
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2015, 11:45:29 AM »
I would say just be prepared to resign and then find a new job. One year is a very long time for a company to hold a position open. No boss is going to be real encouraging of that kind of plan, but if you are a quality enough worker, then chances are when you come back they would be open to rehiring you for any vacant positions.

I've had plenty of uncomfortable meetings with management in my time, and I will say that having the right mind set goes a long way. Be resolute, and make sure they know you are not asking for permission. You are telling them what you are doing, and want to know your options. Remember this is business, not personal, so negotiate well and do not hold it against anyone if they say no.

jd

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 28
  • Location: Canada
Re: Sabbatical Anyone?? Please share your experiences!
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2015, 11:35:47 AM »
So I will keep quiet for the time being and when my timeframe approaches, I will hand in a proposal.
I am however prepared to just walk, in case they say no. And it's a safe guess to assume that that will happen.
It took me a while to realise that I actually would do that, as I have been with this company for 17 years and was looking for ways to hang on a little longer for added safety.

Sounds like a good plan.  If you end up quitting, best to do it on good terms, so you have the option to reapply to your company if you want to.

One of the reasons I requested a sabbatical was for the safety net of a job to return to.  The safety net turned out to be unnecessary, as the company called me after I returned from my trip and asked if I would come back to work for them.  I ended up turning them down and finding a different job (with a better work environment).