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It is becoming increasingly common to take a break from full-time work to travel or volunteer abroad. You may want to take some time out before you settle down with a job and house, or want to take some time to think about what you want to do with your life.

If you are considering taking a career break, it is important you look at the reasons why you want to do it. If you are unhappy at work or in a relationship, try to fix any problems before you go - they will only be worse when you get back.

  • A sabbatical can be arranged with your employer so that you will return to work for them after a set period of time. Ask your manager what the company policy is on sabbaticals. They can be paid or unpaid, but you will have to discuss this with your boss
  • You could continue to work if you decide to travel. If you are a journalist for instance you could write about your experiences travelling
  • Remember a sabbatical is a privilege and not a right. To persuade your employer of the benefits it can bring, you should take time into planning a rewarding agenda
  • Some employers offer sabbatical schemes as part of your contract. If you work for a set period of time, usually a few years, you can be eligible for a sabbatical
  • Before deciding to take a sabbatical you will probably be expected to develop a skill that will enhance your work when you return, such as learning another language
  • Your employer may also impose certain restrictions on what you do, for instance to prevent you from working for a rival firm
  • Before deciding to take a sabbatical, make sure everything is clearly arranged with your employer. Even if you are not being paid, ensure that you remain an employee of your company. This will prevent you losing your employee rights such as pension allowances
  • A sabbatical is a common bonus of many academic jobs. Many university tutors use this time away from teaching to write books or carry out research
  • At universities, students elected to representatives of the student union are called Sabbatical Officers, and are usually paid a nominal salary by the University

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