Sabbatical Stories

Alexandre’s Moment for Change

alexandre's sabbatical to change his career

After some time in “autopilot mode”, Alexandre realizes he needs to take a sabbatical and make a big change. His time off allows him to change his career to help executives like him find the “job of their dreams.”

One of the best decisions I’ve ever taken in my life. And I owe it to my wife!

How 11 months can change your life: step back and let the magic happen!

Describe any changes you made in your life post-sabbatical:
I never went back to my position as site head in the industry. Instead, I decided to help executives like me find the “job of their dreams”.

How did your sabbatical experience change the way you thought about your employer:
I was getting annoyed by many of the “top-down” decisions I had to implement. During my sabbatical, I finally switched off the “autopilot mode” and realized my job was less and less fulfilling and it was time to quit.

List some activities you engaged in during your sabbatical: 
I began learning spanish (3 years later, close to 6000 words memorized).

I finally decided to engage in meditation (and rarely miss a single day).

I resumed regular sport activity (workout, tennis, jogging).

I dedicated more time to engage with my family and friends.

I trained in blogging with the idea to enable a job change by the end of my sabbatical.

Tell us about your sabbatical: 

My wife was the first to mention the idea of a sabbatical. I still remember that she did so during vacations, our feet in the Indian ocean on the coast of the Reunion island ! I believe it was when I mentioned how poorly I considered getting back to work a few days later…

That someone else introduced the idea to me was most probably liberating. I’m pretty sure I would have felt guilty if this had come from me…

For most people, I was very successful in my career as an engineer and therefore, happy, right ?

Of course, I initially worried about the financials. Like many people, I had a loan to pay, 2 grown-up kids ready to enter studies… But I quickly did the math (that’s something I’m not bad at!) and actually, concluded it was mostly a question of priorities.

We took a few decisions to decrease whatever expenses we could. I knew I could really on the money I had put aside. And until now, this has never been an issue.

I’m so glad I did not let my fears prevent me from engaging into this life-changing experience !

Describe the impact of your sabbatical in one sentence: 

I connected with my true-self and decided I didn’t want to gamble on retirement before enjoying life.

How long was your sabbatical (in weeks)?


Why do you think others should (or shouldn’t) take sabbaticals? Are there occasions in life where it’s particularly helpful?

It’s a unique opportunity to step back and reflect.

If you’re lucky enough to have access to long sabbaticals, you can really use it to test a different lifestyle, e.g. a different job! If you feel like your job isn’t fulfilling anymore, if you fear you’re close to burn-out, I’d say it’s probably a very smart move to proactively take a sabbatical to think things over.

You only live once, and a sabbatical has the power to put you back on track!

Check out Alexandre’s work here.

Want to read more on career change sabbaticals? You might find Nola’s story insightful.

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