The career break for managers and professionals

on BLOG, Career Coaching, Coaching, development 24 Ott, 2013

The career break for managers and professionals

In Italy, the career break is starting to spread: no longer a luxury for professors and millionaires, or a leap of faith à la Chatwin, but a real opportunity for managers and professionals.

In Anglo-Saxon countries the career break (or gap year or sabbatical) is quite widespread, does not shock anyone and is not confused with the laziness. To the point that some companies offer it as a benefit, in order to keep their talents highly motivated and satisfied: in fact, the vast majority of managers returning from a sabbatical are extremely energized and grateful to their employer. Who decides to make this choice does not think to take long holidays, but try to improve and test himself, to reflect, learn far languages and cultures, developing his capacity of adaptation and organization and his multicultural competencies. On the other hand, someone decides, after a career break, to change life and country: usually he or she left because needed a period of reflection to find his/her own values and points of interest and embark on new challenges. The farewell was already in the air.

In short, it is true that the company has to manage a period of absence, but the sabbatical is mainly an investment for the employer...

From the operational point of view, those who think to leave for a career break, have to understand their profound need and choose destinations and experiences that are consistent with their own internal goal. In this phase, the career coach is a very useful support.

They also need to prepare economically the career break, because generally no salary and pension scheme are paid by the employer; therefore, in addition to living expenses, one may also decide to pay voluntary contributions all long the year. On the other hand, the Sabbatical year – seen as a life experience and a unique opportunity of development - should not be spent in five-star hotels. It is recommended to address the experience as a temporary but drastic paradigm shift, considering modest accommodations, odd jobs, participation in voluntary initiatives and the definition of a modest daily budget to be never exceeded.

The months before leaving should not only be dedicated to the definition of the tour and to save money, but also to study the countries to be visited, not forgetting to ask for visa and to check for vaccinations.

And, perhaps most important of all, one needs to discuss with his boss or employer of the idea of a gap year, allowing them to accept it and organize themselves accordingly. At this stage, it is important to be prepared to have tough conversations and to use diplomacy, foreseeing all possible objections, proposing reasonable motivations and underlining the positive effects for the company.

Finally, after coming back from a sabbatical, it is better not to start working immediately, but to slowly get used to "normal life", verifying whether one wants to go back to old job or, conversely, make use of the experience for new projects.

Are you tempted by a career break?

What would you look for? And where?

Once found, how would your life improve?






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