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Going On A Sabbatical



“Bravery and Stupidity are the same thing, the outcome determines your label.”

In 2019 I took a sabbatical only a few months after getting promoted to a General Manager at Unilever.


A year that should have seen me double down at work on the back of strong recognition from the organization was instead spent with me trying to figure out what I wanted to do for the next phase of my life.


Sabbaticals can be hard and not just because of the obvious reasons like loss of income, loss of work, loss of purpose, loss of company but when your mind is cleared of all these 'minutiaes' you come face to face with a version of you that is so primal in its being that you start questioning your past existence and the trueness of it (e.g. how I was proven wrong about my strong desire to work full time for a non-profit). You get into a state that can reveal to you your true motivations and fears in life and in that, going on a sabbatical can be one of the most soul-baring but enriching phases.


It's been 4 years since I took a sabbatical so why write about it now?


  • One, the memories and lessons of those 11 months had begun to fade and this is the best way for me to relive those lessons without having to go through the journey again;

  • Second, four of my friends have reached out to me in the last few months with how I planned my sabbatical year and this is my attempt to help them and others who might be planning a sabbatical. (All these 4 men are in their 40's so may be it's mid life crisis :P)

Over the next few weeks I plan to write about,

  • Are sabbaticals for everyone (and my reason to go on one)?

  • How I planned financially & emotionally for a sabbatical?

  • What did I do in those months and how I kept myself going?

  • How hard it was to come back and find a job?

  • How did the sabbatical change me as a person?

  • Is it easier/harder for men to go on a sabbatical than women?


I am no expert on sabbaticals. There are people like DJ DiDonna who have led far deeper research on this topic than I could with me personal experience. But if there is something else you would want me to talk about on sabbaticals from my experience, please drop me a message.


PS: Why the bravery/stupidity quote in the beginning? The word I heard most often about my decision to go on a sabbatical was 'brave' which was in almost 100% cases used as a euphemism for 'stupid'.


In hindsight, it was brave decision and not a stupid one at all.

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