Should I resign from my job to travel?
Can you relate to this situation?
I’ve been wanting to take a gap year overseas forever. I’m now in my early fifties, and I can’t remember ever having more than 6 weeks off work since I finished school. My school friends had gap years, but I couldn’t afford it, so I just started working full-time. My current job only gives me 4 weeks of annual leave, which isn’t enough. My workplace also doesn’t have a sabbatical or employment break policy – where I can take extended time off work to refresh and reset my work-life balance, with a guaranteed job when I come back. I’m scared that if I ask for a break and they say no, they’ll ask me to resign. I’m not sure if I should consider resigning if they say no, or if I should just wait until I retire when I’m 67 years old to have a really long break – in about 15 years’ time. Aaaaaarrrrgh!
Don’t despair. You have options.
Get a new job that has a sabbatical or employment break policy.
If you ask for a sabbatical at your current workplace, and they say no, you might want to look for another job. If you desperately need a refresh, then you are probably ready for a job change anyway. Look for employers who do have sabbatical policies. Many government departments do, and companies with the employer of choice awards have benefits like extra time off, ranging from additional months to a year or more.
Regarding resigning, ask yourself if you have enough money saved to take an extended break from work or if you could gather together the necessary savings. You could sell things like your car, house, or cash in an investment. If you go on a working holiday, you won’t need as much in savings. There are stacks of options.
If you do or can get the money together, start considering what you’ll do and be guided by your heart and mind. When the daydreaming gets so bad that you can’t concentrate on anything else, you’ll start to attract ways to make it happen.
You can always make more money but can’t make more time. Don’t spend your whole life trading time for money (in a job) until your time (your life) runs out. You don’t need to wait until you retire at 67 to travel to the places you’ve always dreamt about.
Ask for more annual leave instead of a year’s break.
If you don’t think they’ll agree to a year without you, maybe they will agree to an extra month without you? You could ask for an extra 4 weeks’ leave (without pay), so you can take more than 4 weeks off each year. If they agree, ask for your salary to be averaged over the year. This way, you’ll get less gross and pay less tax each month, and you won’t have a month without income.
Then – this is the sneaky part – after they’ve managed without you for 2 months and noticed how refreshed and amazing you are at your job because of the extra time off – you can float the idea of an even longer period of time away from work. Like a year on sabbatical. It might be a few years before you’re on your sabbatical (fingers crossed), but you’ll probably appreciate the time to plan and prepare for your escape. Good luck!