Saturday, 14 July 2012

Sabbatical woes...

Yesterday was the day I asked for a sabbatical.

A sabbatical is a rest from work for a certain period of time. Commonly between 2 months and a year.

Ideally I would like the flexibility of having a years sabbatical so I can pursue my vagabonding adventure safe in the knowledge that if I become injured, run out of money or simply don't enjoy the world of travel, I can come back to a familiar, well paid job that I enjoy.

I've had quite a disjointed management structure over the past year at work. And for the past 6 months haven't had a permanent, or even acting, line manager to approach with concerns, ideas or questions.

Sometimes this has been a blessing! Imagine the freedom I have. To do the jobs I want to do, and more importantly how I want to do them, without the restriction or direction that can come from management. It's also worked against me though. Not having that support and direction at times, has really made some tasks more difficult. Administrative things (such as a balls up in my pay!) that should have been nipped in the bud quickly have dragged on for months (costing me money).

If I am to hand in my resignation I must then work a one month notice period. So with my intended departure date being 31st October I must hand in my resignation no later than the end of September. And I figured that I would ask for a sabbatical a couple of months before that. This gives the company time to contemplate my proposals and then action them if need be. Sourcing temporary labour and obtaining passes etcetera.

That time is around now. And with no one directly above me I feel I can ask I was to head straight to the top.

I had previously approached the Human Resources department to see if there was a company sabbatical policy. I met a blank wall and answers back were sometimes contradictory. The jist of their response was that it would be an informal agreement between the employee and their line manager .......... Phat chance.

So yesterday I met with the Head of Engineering. A very nice chap who was able to take the time out of his busy schedule to meet me. I knew that going to this level would get a definite and succinct answer with no fluff attached.

He expressed his concern with the length of time. A year seemed too long and he was worried that I may change as a person, for the worse of the company... Well I do intend on changing if vagabonding brings about that, but not through force. And I'm not sure I would change for the worse.

Whilst recognising the value of travel to a persons development personally and professionally he was not sure how I used my time off would benefit the company. I elaborated on some volunteering work that I intend on doing at a friends charity the Raising Hope Foundation who support and help orphans in Ghana, and he seemed keen. But, not one to lie, I explained primarily I would be travelling for personal pleasure and intended on working a ski season.

This he wasn't too keen on. He has had experiences of employees taking long periods of time off from snowboarding injuries and could not see the benefit it may bring to the company. (Which fair enough except for some entertaining fall videos and a few 'Apres Ski' hangovers neither could I). The conclusion of the chat was that should I approach him with a constructive, possibly charity led, 3 month long plan he may well be inclined to make it happen. However a year long pleasure trip would probably not wash.

So I guess I have two options. Take 3 months out ... or resign.

What do you think? Comment below