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Taking a break sans ill effects to career

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Do you think that a two or three-week vacation doesn't make you feel good? Perhaps you may need to take a career sabbatical that can give you an opportunity to see for new directions in your personal and professional life.

Can you get an extended leave even without pay? According to some surveys 20 percent of employers give sabbatical leave without pay. If you are working in a prestigious company you will be lucky to get extended leave with full or partial pay. Some small firms give two weeks of paid leave every few years.

Some online surveys say that American professionals (58 per cent of men and 68 percent of women) are interested in extended leave from six to twelve months. But such career breaks are very rare in the US corporate world. In effect, it means you have to quit your job and you may not get it back.

You can plan your sabbatical without damaging your career. This is how you can do it.

Company's policy

Look through your company's manual and see if there is any provision for sabbaticals or speak to you HR personnel. Employers are more amenable to people quitting for improving skills and rejoin than we think. But in many companies policies aren't yet formulated.

Carefully think of what you want to do, why and when you will return and then only mention your plans to any colleague. When you say sabbatical you are sounding a plan implying certain duration and serious thoughtfulness. You are expected to stick to your plan and should not falter.

Speak with your boss

If you are planning to rejoin the company after your sabbatical, think of the consequences. If your boss offers you a raise or bonus, see if you can convince him for a short break. Some companies even sponsor sabbaticals that could bring benefits to them.

Keep in touch with colleagues

During your sabbatical take up small projects on freelance basis so that you will be in touch with your colleagues and other professionals and also you can have smooth a return to your profession. You should see to it that you are not forgotten by people, especially professionals.

Top factor for rehiring

An updated skill set gives you an easy reentry to your profession after your sabbatical. It is very common with people to neglect professional memberships and licensing while on extended leave. If you belong to that category, you must be careful; renew your membership to professional bodies and your license.

Contact your employer months before your planned return. You must also be prepared for a different job.

You are lucky because corporate thinking about sabbaticals is changing. Now many companies look at sabbaticals as a way to retain talent.
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