Taking a Year Off Without Hurting Your Career

Some professionals would feel so burned out with their work that they need a break, a really long break. And this is not because they want to become bums, but because of severe cases like stress-related migraines that even a three-hour massage cannot help.

You feel like doing the same: taking a year off from work and return to the same office once your vacation is done. Just in case you are wondering, yes, you can take a year-long vacation. However, the problem is: would the company accept you back?

It’s all about how you spend your time away without sacrificing your career (and your bank account, too). Here are some tips that would guide you through.

Know what you want – A lot of things can happen in a year. Ask yourself if you are still sure to come back to your old job after that long break or you have other options in mind, such as starting a family or moving to a different city.

Assess the situation – Inquire to your human resources department of possible options should you decide to leave for a year. Every company has a different say to it. If the company does not welcome the idea, you can either keep working but sacrificing your welfare or quit the job and take the vacation you want (all while doing freelance work and looking for a new job). If your office is okay with it, then follow their advice.

Provide them with your best performance – Of course, your boss’ decision on whether to let you go still lies on your performance. Work on your top caliber so your employer doesn’t have to second-guess whether to accept you back once you are done with your leave.

Give an advanced notice – Submit a notice of resignation at least three months or more before your planned vacation. This would give ample time for your boss to look for a proper replacement and for you to train the new employee.

Plan on what to do – Your vacation gives you opportunities to do the things you love to do. If you pursue higher studies, enroll for a Ph.D. course for instance. You can also try traveling in countries you dream of visiting, or take on a new hobby. This takes your mind away from stress, and gives you opportunities to take a different career path with your new-found passions.

Keep in touch with your boss while away – Just because your boss gave you the go signal doesn’t mean you are free during the vacation. This gives you the chance to ponder whether you are determined to go back to the office after your leave. If so, inform your company about it. You could also ask about the new employee and how he or she is performing so far, showing that you are still concerned about your company’s welfare.

Try volunteering – Some companies adopt a policy of sending their employees needing of a year off to volunteer organizations, where you get to work full-time to help different communities. Aside from doing a job that would benefit a lot of people, it’s also a resume-booster.

Consider freelancing – You can try doing freelance work for your boss during your leave. It updates your performance in the office, as well as giving a good impression.

Plan your budget – Expect your year-long break to be unfunded, so it is best to lay out a framework on what you could spend on a weekly basis. Settle on your target budget, and you may have to sell some stuff to achieve it. If you have stock options, consider cashing them in. You could also take turns with your spouse about fulfilling their life dreams. Your partner may be able to work abroad (and travel with you on weekends) to keep the income steady, then switch the roles a few years later.

Take your work on the road – If you may not be able to take a year, pitch to your boss of a possibility of working while you are away, that it will ultimately make you more productive. Although some jobs aren’t conducive to this, many bosses may say yes. But working at home would be boring, so why not work while in another country? It puts you in a position to manage your time in a way you want.

 
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