Sabbaticals are on the rise

I don't want to keep grinding through work and life. I want to make a change. Not sure what but it's going to be a big one.
I used to love my work... but now the magic is gone. I can't stay but I'm not sure what to do instead.
I've been working 80-hour weeks for ages. I'm likely to get promoted in a couple of months but I want neither the jobs nor the lives that more senior people have at my company. I'm in the wrong career.

Research published by Harvard Business Review in February 2023 introduces three types of work sabbaticals. Those who take a working holiday usually do so to work on a passion project. Those who free dive into a sabbatical have usually reached the point where they "needed an adventure and a soul reset". Those who leave their current work path because it was untenable usually end up on deeply transformational quests. All those options often lead people through a truly transformational human experience.

Separately, an article by The Washington Post argues that an increasing number of workers across the economy may find that a career break is key to making their jobs work better for them. Some have mistaken this as an “end of ambition” among younger workers. But interviews and research suggest that’s wrong. This isn’t an end of ambition. It’s a redefining of it.

A sabbatical sounds awesome but...

I've worked hard ever since I entered the job market. I got promoted fast, landed great jobs and am well-recognised in my company and my industry. I'm really worried about how much of dent this going to make in my career.
I'm really worried about money. I can live off of my savings for a while but I can't afford to not make money for a long time.
You say sabbaticals can 'unveil a radically new sense of self'. What if mine doesn't and I've wasted my time? What if it does and I don't like it?
I'll be alone... who helps when I'm stuck?

I can help!

Whether you're thinking about going on sabbatical or you've already made the decision, I've pulled together some material that'll help you navigate what often feels like a complex journey.

Dreaming of a sabbatical

A FREE little guided journey to help you think about whether a sabbatical is the right move for you.

(For those of you who haven't yet taken the leap)

Find out more

On sabbatical

A guided journey with insight, structure and resources to help make your sabbatical a transformational experience.

(For those of you who have already leapt)

Find out more

Here's a bit more about me

Hi, I'm Cécile 👋

After 12 years working intensely for big businesses in strategy and transformation roles, including 7 years in leadership and senior leadership positions, I decided to take an intentional break and go on a 12-month sabbatical starting in February 2022.

My first intention was to rest. My second intention was to figure out what kind of work I would end up doing, and life I would end up living, if I stepped out of the constraints of traditional work, stopped 'doing' things constantly, and followed my curiosity for a while.

Of course I was worried about the dent this would make in my career and about living off of the savings I had been building up for a house deposit. I was also terrified that 'following my curiosity' would result in me realising that I was not a curious person after all.

Now that my sabbatical has come to a close, I can say it: taking the leap was absolutely worth it!

I ended up taking on all sorts of small projects that were sparking my curiosity. I started writing regularly in February and started being active online in April. I designed my first-ever blog in March and my own website in August. I created a newsletter in September and was a guest on my first podcast that same month. I made my first YouTube video in December. I attended courses, workshops and retreats that helped me develop my writing, design and leadership skills in ways that aren't taught in the corporate world. The list goes on. All this while living in 6 different countries across the world, including 6 months in Indonesia.

This has been an incredible opportunity to reconnect with what matters most to me, define my own identity, and redefine what ambition looked like for me in both work and life. Something I had been finding impossible to do while working demanding jobs.

Your sabbatical will be unique, just like you

I’ve spoken to a bit more than 60 people about sabbaticals. Half of them were thinking about taking time off work, a third had already taken the leap and the rest were actively preparing for their time away, trying to figure out how to “make the most of it”.

That’s many hours of conversations in which I was given a window into people’s lives, their unique and complex love-hate relationship with work, their excitement at stepping off their familiar life path, and their fears at the idea of diving into the unknown.

65% of the people I talked with were calling in from the US, 15% from India, 10% from the UK. Half men, half women.

They were coming from everywhere in the business world, from big corporations and top consultancies to start-ups and not-for-profits. Some were software engineers and product managers in tech, others worked in finance, strategy or marketing roles. Some had only been working for a few years while others had been thriving in the business world for twenty years until something started feeling so off inside them that they could no longer ignore it.

Every single one of their journeys was unique.

Every single one of them has unique gifts to share. Taking proper time off work would allow them to grow and unleash those gifts.

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