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What is Sabbatical? Why a Sabbatical Leave may be what you need?

What is a Sabbatical Leave? Should I take a Sabbatical leave? What about Sabbatical homes?

People nowadays rarely pursue their interests especially if it’s time-consuming and requires a lot of resources. Other things usually take precedence, like work, family, relationships. Even if most of us have time, it is usually not enough. A day or two is usually not enough in pursuing most of our goals, but a sabbatical year may be a good option.

Sometimes, we need a long vacation to do things we long cherished. Travelling abroad, enjoying a cruise, will require a great amount of time and money. We usually need a long preparation and hope that our company, after years of working, will grant us a sabbatical. But what exactly is a sabbatical?

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What is a sabbatical?

Usually, the term sabbatical refers to a very long leave awarded to those who are working in academic institutions and organizations to pursue to travel, work on something, or pursue their interest that may be or may not be related to work. Nowadays, the term is used liberally to refer to the long leave awarded to employees, and can last from a few months, up to a year.

Why do people take a sabbatical?

What is the one common reason most people take a sabbatical is that it is a privilege afforded to them by their workplace. Even better, some are given sabbatical with pay, meaning they get the usual salary and/or allowance even when not working. It is a privilege people are more than willing to take.

Aside from having the privilege, people take a sabbatical to take a break from years of hard work. They want a breath of fresh air, away from the usual routine and everyday hassle. They want to have a new experience and will use the leave just for that.

Others want to pursue their passion which even an ordinary day off or extended leave will not allow. Some things require a great amount of time, from preparation to execution. Only a sabbatical will probably allow them to pursue those things.

Others still use the sabbatical as an extension of their work, in connection to their position or interest. This is usually the case for those who are working in academic institutions. They use the sabbatical to travel to places or conduct research, in pursuit of further academic glory. Most professors and teachers do not have time for research, and the sabbatical is just perfect for that.

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Best ideas for sabbatical

Here are the few things you can do while on sabbatical:


Most people used the sabbatical afforded to them to travel abroad and go to far-flung places. You can do this for leisure and entertainment. If you are in the academe or working in an organization, you can travel to make yourself informed about the world, other cultures, and other people.

Pursue your passion

Since a sabbatical is longer than a regular or even an extended leave, you have all the time in the world to pursue your passion. Whatever it is that interests you, whether painting, sculpting, or other form of arts, you can do it and pursue it with vigor. You can also write, whether poems, novels, stories, scripts. You have all the time in the world.

Do some other “jobs”

No, you are not leaving the company that just afforded you the privilege which is not afforded to most people. You are just going to try some other things, and earn some bucks doing them. Maybe some kind of activity that can also give you some financial rewards, like acting, singing, or even playing sports. Just make sure it is not in conflict with your company or its policies.

Educate yourself further

Most of us do not have time to study once we started working. This is a perfect time to educate ourselves further, either by taking other short courses, pursuing higher education, or doing some research.

Write a book or a story you want to tell during sabbatical

Do you have a story that you always want to tell? or a legacy that you want to leave to the world? Sharing your wisdom to the world, or a message like promoting diversity and inclusion? A sabbatical leave may be your best time to relax, regroup, rewind your memory and make an accomplishment about yourself.

Do some outreach activities

Helping your community is a great way to bide your time while on sabbatical, especially if you are on a break from other things as well, like travel or studies. There will still be times when you are not busy and have so much time in your hands. You can participate in community programs and other outreach activities.

The great thing is that all those things mentioned can be done while on sabbatical. You can travel and do research, write, or pursue your passion at the same time. You can do some jobs while studying, or doing research. During breaks from these activities, you can volunteer in outreach programs.

Things to consider before taking a sabbatical

Since a sabbatical is a very long vacation, you must plan and prepare for it. There are some things that you have to consider before taking a sabbatical to make it a fruitful but enjoyable experience.

Sabbatical Homes

In planning for a sabbatical, the place to stay is an important consideration. After all, to be on sabbatical is to be probably removed from your workplace or home for a long time. Having a good place to stay is a must.

The place to stay must be near where you will be doing your activities. If you are doing studies or research, it must be near that particular institution or library. If you are traveling for leisure, it must be a place where it will be convenient for you to move or commute, a hotel or pension house for instance.

The “sabbatical house” will depend on what kind of ambiance do you want for the duration of your leave. If you want to have peace, either to do some activities or in pursuing your passion, or just to take some rest, you can have a secluded or isolated place. In this case, you will be nearer and faithful to the true meaning of the word “sabbatical.”

Planning your finances

You will need some money once you go on vacation, whether a short leave or sabbatical. In case of an unpaid sabbatical, you have to save money.  Make sure that you have the resources to finance your endeavor.

Make sure that you have cash or a good credit line. Aside from the usual expenses, you might want to bring home an item or two for your loved ones and workmates, from sabbatical. There are also other unplanned expenses along the way, like good food, a new experience, or some souvenirs you want to buy. It is better not to be short of money to enjoy and have a great experience.

Put everything in order

All the planning will only materialize if you first take care of business, that is if you get permission to be allowed to go on sabbatical. So before even planning on a sabbatical, you must be a great worker or employee and must be excellent in performing all of your duties. Before planning a sabbatical, make sure first that you earn it.

Your performance will be enough justification for a sabbatical. You need, however, to accomplish all the requirements and paper works needed. Make sure that you get all the necessary approval from your bosses and/or authorities. Discuss with them all the perks or benefits, if there are any.

 Once you’re allowed, be sure to put everything in place. No backlog in work as much as possible. Then after deciding on your sabbatical, you prepare your itinerary and your things-to-do list. This ensures that you will have a smooth transition from work to sabbatical.

What to do before ending a sabbatical?

Ultimately, you take a sabbatical for a reason. The first thing to do is to assess whether you have accomplished what you want to accomplish during your break. You must accomplish what you think needs to be done in your sabbatical, and pursued what needs to be pursued.

You can have a reflection about the things you have done during your sabbatical. You can list all of those things that you have achieved while on a break. It need not be perfect, some things really cannot be done even if you have time. Just think of it as an accomplishment report for yourself. Use these to reflect on the things that you have learned.

Finally, you must prepare yourself for your return to work. If your work requires you to submit an accomplishment report, or whatever its equivalent, then you do it. Make sure that once you go back to your work you are no longer in vacation mode., and that you are ready to grind it out again. After all, everybody thinks that you did have a good time, which must truly be the case.

Sabbatical Ideas

Jess M.

Sabbatical Meaning
Sabbatical Ideas
Sabbatical Advantages

What are some Sabbatical ideas?

  • Travel
  • Pursue your passion
  • Do some other “jobs”
  • Educate yourself further
  • Write a book or a story you want to tell during your sabbatical
  • Do some outreach activities
  • Things to consider before taking a sabbatical
  • more on Diversity for Social Impact Aging
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About the author

Jess Man

Jessica is the Editor-in-Chief and Senior Diversity Advisor at Diversity Social. Jessica has over 10 years of working with and advising employers to be more diverse and create an inclusive working environment.
Jessica's experience spans private and non-profit sectors in multiple industries.
Jessica's expertise experience is beyond Diversity & Inclusion, she is also a certified professional IT recruiter in Data & Analytics, Database administration, Artificial Intelligence area.