Sabbaticals come about in different ways. Once the preserve of academia, they were an encouraged leave of absence for scholarly writing and research. In fact, the word sabbatical derives from the Hebrew word 'Sabbath', the day of rest, as scholars would take a year's break from their studies every seven years.
Sabbaticals have now been
redefined, and come about in various different circumstances across
all industries. It may be about taking advantage of time off
(voluntarily or otherwise) between jobs; enjoying some gardening
leave (minus the gardening); taking a well-earned break from a
current role. Or due to a big personal change; selling a business;
shifting priorities; embarking on a fully-fledged mid-life crisis,
being freshly responsibility-free (hurrah!) or easing into
retirement. After all, going from spinning 20 plates at once to
suddenly doing nothing can be a bit daunting.
The great thing about the word sabbatical is that it covers all
of the above, but requires minimal explanation of the details,
which can be tricky to talk about. Consider it a fig leaf for a
wealth of situations where we're essentially just putting ourselves
first for once. We have little trouble with the hedonistic pursuits
of youngsters taking gap years, so let's start getting comfortable
with the adult equivalent (minus the Thailand full moon parties,
backpacks and hostel bunk beds, unless you want that, of
69% of employees surveyed across the UK and Europe said they do
not have a good work-life balance.