Suneil’s decision to quit his job invites questions from family and friends but also leads him to a place of much-needed clarity. His 28-week sabbatical sees him traveling, pursuing his interests, and building relationships.
I quit a job I liked to take a sabbatical. Here’s why…
I gained crucial clarity in terms of how I want my life to blossom and what I want to contribute to the world.
A sabbatical is the perfect opportunity to ask yourself, ‘What are you really here for? What do you really want to accomplish?'” in life.
I quit a job that family and friends questioned why I left. I had a manager that cared about my personal development and worked for a company that provided a good salary and great benefits. Oh, and I enjoyed my coworkers and project work and didn’t have to work crazy long consulting hours. There were aspects I didn’t love, as Lisa Vanderpump would say, “Life isn’t all diamonds and roses,” but unlike most Americans, despite the quirks, overall, I enjoyed my job and was engaged.
Regardless, there were bucket list items in my life that I wanted to accomplish-like becoming a yoga teacher abroad and traveling — that didn’t fit neatly into a W2 schedule.
So, after quitting my job and spending a little time with family, I packed my bags and headed to India, the birthplace of yoga, to earn my 200-hour yoga teacher certificate. The month training was filled with highs and lows, pushing myself to confront my personal fears and challenges, while also meeting and befriending some of the kindest and most compassionate people I’ve ever met who changed my perspective on life and who I now call friends.
After the training, I visited family and traveled. I spent meaningful time with my 92-year old grandmother, who passed away soon after. I learned how to cook some of my favorite Indian seafood dishes from my aunt. I samba danced in Brazil. I cheered for Argentina in the world cup in Buenos Aires, and partied in the streets after the win. I journaled. I meditated. I clarified personal goals. I reflected.
After time abroad, I knew I was refreshed, recharged, and energized for my next full-time professional experience.
Many people view sabbaticals as a career break, but I view it as a career add.
While I wasn’t working in the traditional sense, I spent crucial time clarifying my goals, I gained leadership skills, and I improved my writing, all of which has propelled me further, personally and professionally.
List some activities you engaged in during your sabbatical:
– I became a certified yoga teacher abroad.
– I made a number of new friends.
– I wrote for a number of publications.
– I traveled to five countries (Argentia, Brazil, Uruguay, UAE, and India).
– I partied in the streets of Buenos Aires after they won the world cup.
– I was able to spend time with my grandmother in India before she passed away, along with other family members I hadn’t seen in years.
– I spent quality time with my family in different states including taking care of my niece and being present for my nephew’s birth.
– I launched a yoga newsletter.
- What catalyzed your sabbatical?
Positive event – company acquired, financial windfall, etc.
- How long was your sabbatical (in weeks)?
- Describe any changes you made in your life post-sabbatical:
I started a new job at a great new company.
- Why do you think others should (or shouldn’t) take sabbaticals? Are there occasions in life where it’s particularly helpful?
We often think we’ll have time, post retirement, to travel or do the things we love. We view death as a predictable event that’ll occur in our eighties if we’re lucky. But the fact is, life is unpredictable and we don’t truly know when we will pass. So, if not now, when? If you can, take a leap of faith and explore the world and yourself.
Interested in more solo travel sabbaticals? Check out Marina’s story.