By: Naomi Matlow
Maybe you’re not willing to officially befriend the Q word, but you know something’s gotta give. How about temporarily leaving your job behind for a short while? In our humble opinion, if you are traveling in order to find new perspective…to shake up your routine…then you need to treat it differently than that normal vacation you take every year. You need to make an internal change in order to see any external change.
We’ve done some brainstorming over at Unsettled HQ and have decided that when it comes to temporarily quitting your job, you have 2 options:
- Ask for Permission
- Ask for Forgiveness
Option 1: Asking for Permission
Once you have clarified why it is that you are craving an intentional break from your professional routine, be honest with your boss or supervisor about why it is that you need it. Furthermore, include in your discussion, what it is that you hope to gain and how you plan to grow during your time away. It is important that your boss is aware that your sabbatical can be a “win-win” situation for both parties. As the coach Maria Pastore writes in Forbes, “Taking a sabbatical could have a long-term positive effect on both parties: boosting creativity, generating new ideas for innovating in the organization, and allowing the space to give aspiring leaders a chance to grow.”
Conduct some internal research about whether there is a precedent for taking a paid or unpaid sabbatical in your organization and when there may be a slow period coming up in 2020 that would make it easier on both you and the organization to take some intentional time off. They may even save money by you taking an unpaid leave of absence! Additionally, you may also be saving your organization health costs by preventing burnout in the future.
As founder of FireMeIBegYou.com, Robbie Abed, writes in Inc., “sabbaticals can teach what schools can’t.” This includes among many others, creative problem solving skills, finding common ground cross-culturally, and resiliency. These are skills that will never be overtaken by Artificial Intelligence in the job market. There is a reason 17% of US companies offer some type of sabbatical to their employees.
If a sabbatical is not what you are looking for, consider asking your boss for some time to work remotely. Perhaps in a place that is in the same or in a close enough timezone to ensure your participation in meetings and on calls. As the age old cliché is written, “you never know unless you ask”.
Option 2: Asking for Forgiveness
Remember that even completely quitting your job is temporary. Impermanence is a throughline thread in all of our lives. You may make the choice to take a sabbatical and ask your boss for forgiveness as you board your outbound airplane, or you may temporarily quit your current profession in order to take time to jump into a new line of work, your own business, or in freelancing. When you ask the universe for forgiveness for changing up your current path, you may find that the universe accelerates opportunity. Many of our alumni have found that after they made the choice to quit and travel the world, the world revealed new doors for them to open in return.
Consider setting yourself up to go to the places that are connected to your interests and the hubs of the industries related to your future career trajectory. For example, if you are interested in urban design and ingenuity, one month in Medellin could unlock a whole new universe for you. Interested in ecology and permaculture, what about one week living in the primary rainforest of Costa Rica? Go find the community that you are curious about. Go where the jobs are. Then you can network with a community of individuals with similar passions, perhaps find a mentor, and even learn what kind of jobs exist out there for you. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Whether you are asking for permission or for forgiveness, all change takes courage. Recognize this, accept it, and let yourself feel all the anxiety and uncertainty that comes with going against the grain. You are no doubt taking a leap of faith, but how else can your world open up in expected ways?