For the sake of those who don’t know or are simply unaware of the meaning of a sabbatical, let’s begin with the basics. Whoever made sabbaticals did the second best thing. The best was the creation of weekends! Simply put, a sabbatical is an arrangement between an employee and employer wherein the former stays away from work for a decided period of time. Lucky you, if you get all that time for yourself on an unpaid arrangement.

Considered to be an essential component of employee development and commitment, sabbaticals are unfortunately difficult to obtain. So, why and how do you secure one? CareerBuilder brings you a 5-step guide to securing your sabbatical.

1. Think Hard: A sabbatical is what you make out of it. It really depends on you how to utilize your time off from work. You can either spend it being a couch potato or get up to learning something new. It can be as fun a thing as learning how to swim, but that is a life skill and is important given that the ice age is ending. Jokes apart, divide your time well. Two weeks of fun followed by two weeks of learning a key skill means smart use of a sabbatical.

2. Inform Well in Advance: A well-informed boss, in most of the cases, will mean one who will access your demand logically. Give a notice well in advanced to let your mentors know about the time period that you will be away from work. In the meanwhile, assure your supervisor that you will finish your work well in advance before you leave.

3. Make a Plan: Let’s face it: every negotiation is about give-and-take. So do you want to take some good time and spend it all on yourself? What are you ready to give in return? Approach with a plan – a plan about how you can manage to finish your work beforehand and who you can rely on to get some of your work done. Make things easier on the shoulders of your mentor. Promise to work from home or do over-time, if required.

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4. Work Harder: Now that you have promised your organization extra work, don’t shirk from it. Put in some extra hours after office, if you work at a bank, to complete the pending customer database. If you work as an HR executive, take your office mobile home and make some calls from the comfort of your own abode.

5. Get it Approved: A sabbatical without a sign on it is just like an unapproved resignation letter – you have it, but can’t do anything about it. Moreover, nowadays psychological contracts do not hold any validity. Therefore, get your sabbatical approved in written once you are sure that you are in a good position to secure one.

As per a Harvard Business Magazine article, “For many, taking an entire year off may not be practical. But there are less extreme ways to work big-think time off into any schedule. Sagmeister draws a parallel between his ‘seven-year itch’ sabbatical and Google’s famous 20% time, when engineers can work on whatever they want. Bill Gates took a twice-yearly ‘Think Week’ to read technical papers. His successor, Ray Ozzie, takes time off not to read but to ‘dream’ — and comes back to the office filled with new ideas.”

Having committed to take a certain amount of time off work, it is now time to prepare for that much-awaited break. Once again, you must begin with the planning stage, if you want your sabbatical to be a success.

Image Courtesy: Mashable

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