Not every employee is in the right position to ask for a sabbatical. Elizabeth Pagano, co-founder of YourSabbatical states that “you’d better be a valued, high-performing employee,” if you plan on asking for a career break. This stands even truer if working for a company that doesn’t have an official sabbatical program.
Having a well-crafted sabbatical proposal will help when negotiating the opportunity with your employer. This will elevate the request to a higher level of consideration and show how the investment benefits the company.
Make sure to create a document that your boss can use to become your champion and earn approval from executive team, and maybe even consider an inclusive program for all the company.
According to Pagano, a successful negotiation requires honesty, earnestness, trust and flexibility. To succeed, she recommends following some advice:
- Have a well-crafted sabbatical proposal that genuinely and passionately addresses the potential concerns and possible benefits for your employer.
- Establish a relationship with your boss built on trust, and be prepared to have a frank, professional discussion.
- Evaluate your position in the company and how you are seen and appreciated by others. If you are valued as a high-performing contributor, your chances are high at getting some time away as desired.
- Be equally open to listening as you are prepared to “pitch”.
- Be willing to be flexible, if necessary.
When negotiating, also consider the following:
- Be purposeful. Be clear on how you will make the most out of your time during sabbatical.
- Show how your time away will benefit the company
- Think carefully about your timing. Your request must come at a convenient time for the company.
- Be prepared to quit. If your employer doesn’t accept a career break you have to consider quitting if you really want to make it happen.
- Play it up on your resume. Don’t down play what you learned during the break.
A successful negotiation requires significant thought and planning. Pitching the idea to your boss is not easy and must be laid down strategically to ensure it is put across correctly.
Pagano reminds employees to answer the following question before even considering asking for a career break: Are you a valued contributor and high performer in your company? “If you’re not considered “top talent” by your company’s leaders, then they have little reason to accommodate you in your dream of taking a sabbatical.”