This isn’t the ‘end of ambition’. It’s a redefining. [The Washington Post]


Americans are increasingly embracing sabbaticals, as a result of the pandemic and changing attitudes towards work. The idea of taking time off from work was previously taboo in the United States, but the pandemic has shifted priorities towards health and happiness, and reduced loyalty to companies that prioritized layoffs during economic downturns. Employees across various industries are now taking longer leaves of absence, with 6% starting a sabbatical in January 2022, almost double the rate in January 2019.

Sabbaticals are most popular among 25-34 and 35-44-year-olds, and women are more likely than men to take these breaks. Many individuals who have taken sabbaticals describe them as transformative experiences that allowed them to reflect on their lives and goals outside of work. Sabbaticals are increasingly viewed positively by employers, with some offering paid or unpaid options to combat burnout. Taking a sabbatical is seen as a way to refresh and return to work more motivated and productive.

Key Takeaways:

  • Attitude Shift: Americans now prioritize health and happiness, leading to a positive view of career breaks or sabbaticals. The pandemic and reduced loyalty to companies during economic downturns contributed to this change.
  • Increasing Popularity: Sabbaticals are on the rise across industries and among different age groups, with more employees opting for longer leaves. Younger workers (25-34) and women are leading this trend, signaling a desire for self-reflection and redefining ambitions.
  • Transformative Impact: Sabbaticals are seen as transformative experiences, allowing individuals to step away from work, reflect on life, and reassess priorities. Employers are recognizing the value of sabbaticals in combating burnout, leading to the introduction of paid or unpaid options. Sabbaticals refresh individuals, leading to improved motivation and productivity upon return.

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