I recently took a sabbatical from work. In my case it was for a long-postponed surgery that would require at least six months of focused recovery and rehab time, to enable a planned, someday biking vacation in Italy.
As a freelancer/contractor, I knew my choice was a calculated risk. Taking myself off the job market meant I could be replaced. It could reduce my future assignments and earning prospects. In addition, if and when I decided to return to full-time work, the gap on my resume would require an explanation.
The choice became easier when my elderly mother’s health worsened last year. By taking a work sabbatical I could visit her out-of-state without concern for losing, securing or completing assignments on a deadline. I took the plunge about six months ago. I’m not unhappy I did. The time enabled my full recovery, and I was able to spend quality time with my mom before she died in December.
This month I started looking for work. Sort of. One of my sabbatical epiphanies is that I don’t need just a paycheck. Don’t get me wrong: I could use an income, but I have significant savings, my investments have done very well, and I have a defined benefit pension plan from a former employer. My financial security puts me in an enviable position. I can afford to be choosy about what I want to do, and what jobs I pursue.
As a communicator I bring commitment, strategic thinking, solid experience, proven value, and an extensive education to the workplace. What do I want in return? Here’s my shortlist:
- A challenge, in the sense of a position where I can continue to growth my skills
- A collaborative work environment.
- Leaders who value their teammates.
- An organization I can believe in, in terms of its ethics and practices.
An improving economy makes this a good time to be a job hunter. While I research the possibilities I’m volunteering. I recently found a great opportunity and made it to second round interviews. Whatever happens there I’m confident there will be more opportunities that meet my criteria, and I’m actively seeking them out. In high-heeled pumps, with no pain!