When your personal and professional lives are misaligned, there's one thing that's bound to restore balance between them, according to those who've been lucky enough to take one: a sabbatical.
"There are times when your personal life must be prioritized over work. During these transitional moments, it can become increasingly difficult to concentrate on your responsibilities, since your attention and mind are pulling away from the chains of your desk," explains Fast Company contributor Lindsay Tigar. "For many professionals, a sabbatical, or leave of absence, gives them the opportunity to disconnect and examine their next steps."
Actually securing a sabbatical, however, is easier said than done.
"It's not easy to convince your manager to let you take several weeks or months away from your job," continues Tigar, who says the best way to convince your boss to join "Team Sabbatical" is to come to the table with a written plan for your absence.
"You … want to enter the discussion with a detailed, specific plan that dictates everything you'll be doing, why you're doing it, and how you plan to return to the company, amped up and fresh-minded," advises Tigar, who says your proposal should make it clear how the sabbatical will benefit your company. "When you're leaving for personal issues, a stint can actually leave you feeling reorganized and refreshed. Instead of completing tasks because you have to, you'll return wanting to jump right in."
There might even be networking benefits to your absence. "Especially if you're leaving to travel, you'll be exposed to various professionals around the globe, meaning you'll inevitably cast a wider net that ultimately will benefit your employer," concludes Tigar, who relates the following advice from career branding expert Wendi Weiner: "Consider what you will bring back upon your return, such as new knowledge, new clients, new skills. Think about how your sabbatical will impact the company and what the company can gain from it."