April 9, 2009
We thought it would be helpful for readers to see the story of some one who has taken several successful sabbaticals. Here is Rita’s story:
I have taken several sabbaticals and came out ahead after each of them. My first two were when I deliberately added time onto my maternity leaves. After the first, I moved to new work and a new company where I flourished for seventeen years. I returned to my same job after the second reboot break. My team rallied when I was out and I re-entered the work place refreshed and raring to go.
My next sabbatical came nineteen years later. I had been working non-stop, taking a one-week vacation and a few days here and there and working twelve-hour days. I cannot begin to tell you the full effect of taking off six to nine months to invest in yourself. I started playing tennis, which I hadn’t done since being a child. I attended yoga classes, I traveled, I read, I went to shows, and I reignited old friendships. Most importantly, I gave myself the gift of time to examine what I wanted next in life. Eventually, I joined a company where I was promoted to President of a global division, which we grew to over a $1 billion business. I would not have been as successful in that job as I was, if I had not taken time to invest in myself and to refresh.
My most recent sabbatical occurred three years ago when my company announced that it was moving its headquarters to a place where I didn’t care to live. My year off of travel, workshops, reflection, and re-connection with old friends allowed me to morph my work into a portfolio career where I combine sitting on boards with career coaching, writing, and having fun. Yes, I am back to my twelve-hour days and longer, but I’m doing it on my time and with whom I want. Each sabbatical in my life brought me breathing room, clarity and the courage to go on to that next wonderful place in my life.