Benefits of a Sabbatical – Musings Three

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The benefits of a sabbatical have been huge and unexpected. I am grateful for the time. In my third update on what I am reading and reflecting on I will relate back to the work sphere. Most responsible employers now encourage a culture of bringing your whole self to work. I view this as my time to tend to the rest of my “self” so I can come back stronger; feeling less “stretched”. Of course, furlough is a sort of sabbatical as well so I will not be alone in my recent observations…

There are so many things I will do differently when I go back to work in 2022

Bad habits in the family routine. Sleep hygiene. Liberating myself from my old work persona which according to Mike Robbins will afford others permission to do similar. I will ask myself better questions. What am I achieving? Is it all in service of what my employer/customer needs and crucially does that still line up with what I want to achieve? Does it chime with my values? Does my salary reflect my value and is my work pattern sustainable and healthy? 

I would like to do more about ageism

I listened to this fantastic podcast with Hung Lee and heard again the needle has to be shifted. Those coming back after a career break are often comfortable in a middle management role and I sense a revaluing of jobs for those who do their job excellently, rather than climb the ranks. When I return to work I will really push for white labelling CVs (removing personal data). I will challenge hiring managers more on why they are overlooking the “over-experienced” person who will likely be loyal, grateful and committed, a great mentor and will stay in tenure longer.

I will lean more on my personal support network

The corollary of being yourself at work is that you need to be your work self at home. Sounds like you might lose all your friends? Haha. You can’t negate your work self in the rest of your life. So often over a drink we say “I don’t want to talk about work”. But how about trusting that friends/family have wisdom and anecdotal advice that could help? This is the power of common humanity.

I will not have no regrets

Does a sabbatical interfere with the fastest possible trajectory at work? No question about it, definitely.  I don’t know anyone in the professional sphere who has taken time out and clicked back in to a promotion path without adding some delay. The question is are you on the right ascension path? It is a brave question to ask and even more brave to leave the layers of security behind that work affords you. I believe the benefits of sabbatical have outweighed the risk for me.

Leaving work created a void of income, recognition but also a sense of place. This has been a really interesting topic to ponder and frankly difficult to face into! I realise my self-belief is not all I thought it was. Self-compassion is an area of constant work for so many, even in the most senior of executives that I have interviewed or advised. Here is a link to a recording I have found especially helpful.

I really want to give back because I have had such a great career myself, fuelled by the kindness, insights and understanding of others. So I feel grateful and want to help. See the page on my website offering “free” coaching (I don’t take anything from it but a chosen charity does). If these musings resonate with you then please do get in touch, alongside the mechanics of getting back into work I have a very integrated approach to helping you work out how to continually weave purpose into your work. 

Laura 

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