How to plan your sabbatical

30 January 2019


We all dream of doing something different at some point or another: going on a round-the-world trip, doing voluntary work in a refugee camp, attending a yoga retreat in Bali. But this raises a lot of things you need to consider. How do you prepare for a sabbatical and what do you need to know? We are here to help. Bear in mind that preparations take seven to ten months.

Daydreaming about a trek through the Pyrenees while eating your bowl of pasta is different to actually doing it. A sabbatical isn’t something you just do. It requires preparation, time, courage and persistence. Ask yourself before you start putting the wheels in motion whether you are ready for it. Do you really want to do this? And why? Think about what your motivation is to take a sabbatical: do you want to see the world, work on yourself or simply relax? There is no wrong answer as long as you have something to focus on. This goal will help you get through difficult moments during the preparation phase and give you a sense of satisfaction on your sabbatical.

Informal discussion
Once you have made your decision to go, you need to tell your supervisor about your plans. Until 2012 you could save for different types of leave, including a sabbatical, with a life-cycle savings scheme. This is no longer the case, however some CLAs include terms about taking unpaid leave, the request process and the maximum leave period. Research what your situation is and explain to your boss why you want a sabbatical, what you will gain from it and how your leave will benefit the business. Ask your employer for written confirmation that you are permitted to take unpaid leave.

Money, money, money
A sabbatical costs money so think about how much you need. What fixed costs do you need to pay and how are you going to finance them? Take a good look at your piggy bank and think about whether there are other ways to generate income. Also write a to-do list in which you note down per month, week and day all the small and large tasks you need to do to manage everything. This will include: sorting out automatic transfers for your energy bills, water, lighting etc.; cancelling subscriptions, storing your car, handing over your work properly and making sure everything is ready for your travels: flights, hotels, transport. Bear in mind that preparations take seven to ten months.

Further reading Het Sabbaticalproject. Maak uw dromen werkelijkheid by Annet Scheringa, Sabbatsverlof by Gyuri Vergouw and Instant Sabbatical by Elise Verberg.

3 benefits of a sabbatical

– Canadian research has shown that three quarters of people who have been on a sabbatical come back feeling refreshed. Three quarters of those surveyed discovered new ways of looking at things and a third experienced a reduction in their stress levels.
– During a sabbatical, you can finally relax. Both physically and mentally. Life sometimes seems to be a roller coaster ride, everything moves so quickly. A sabbatical is a good way to stop and find yourself.
– Maybe you’ve been thinking for some time that your work doesn’t suit you. Or that your relationship has run its course. By stepping back from your life during a sabbatical, you will be in a better position to make important decisions.

How financially fit are you?
Besides a healthy life, you want a healthy pension. By staying aware of the pension market and react to it in a flexible way, we keep your pension in top condition. Do you already have a pension scheme with BeFrank? Then you can see how your pension is doing on your Personal Pension page. Here you will also find the most important updates. Do you not have a pension scheme with BeFrank yet? Ask your employer about the possibilities.