Make Your Pitch
Wong Kar Lai, head of group HR at Jobstreet.com, shares how you can broach the subject of a sabbatical with your boss.
1 GIVE AT LEAST THREE MONTHS’ NOTICE. Your boss may have to find a replacement or reassign your duties while you’re away. “Make the handover smoother by preparing a complete list of outstanding matters and walking them through with your colleagues. Your boss will appreciate the initiative.”
2 MAKE A STRONG CASE FOR YOURSELF. Even if your sabbatical is for personal reasons, highlight how it can help you professionally – to become more productive or efficient. “Taking a break to accomplish a personal goal is very fulfilling. When you return to work, you’ll be able to find your professional accomplishments equally fulfilling.”
3 KEEP COMMUNICATION CHANNELS OPEN. It helps you maintain good relations with your boss and colleagues. “If he asks that you return from your sabbatical earlier to relieve the team, be willing to compromise.” Kar Lai says keeping tabs on work during a sabbatical is optional – as long as you’ve done a clean handover, that is enough.
4 EXPLORE YOUR OPTIONS. If your boss tells you that company policy doesn’t allow for sabbatical leave because it’s too disruptive, Kar Lai says you should review your options – you may have to give up your dream or quit your job to pursue it.