Most of us don't require much convincing that an extended sabbatical sounds great. But if you need more evidence that breaking with your everyday grind to travel and think really is a good idea, plenty of those who have taken these types of breaks attest that you come back profoundly refreshed. Often the long-term benefits to your career are immense, they claim.
There's only one small problem. How in the world could you afford to take months off to travel?
A lucky few already have the resources or the discipline to save enough to afford months off work. Hardier types argue for stripped-down, no-frills travel to low-cost locales, but obviously, if you have a family with young children or are simply not terribly adventurous, this isn't the solution for you. Is there a way for normal, average folks to afford to get away and reevaluate their lives and careers?
A Professional Adventure Abroad
A startup is offering a new option. Jobbatical, an Estonian company that launched seven months ago, connects startups in exotic locales like Bali and Barcelona with talented professionals, particularly in tech and marketing, willing to relocate and work for an extended period (generally one year) for these companies.
Call it a sabbatical for those professionally driven types who get more than a little fidgety just imagining kicking back and not working for months. Or call it the best option for those without the bank balance to support a long period off.
The idea is finding plenty of takers, according to Karoli Hindriks, Jobbatical's founder. "We're attracting a lot of American techies and marketers," she told Inc.com in an interview. Where are these professionals heading for their extended working breaks? "Our fastest-growing regions," Hindriks says, "in terms of destinations are in Asia--so Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong--and also in Europe, countries like Estonia, which has a lot of startups that are building global businesses but doesn't have enough local talent."
The most popular countries reflect both the interests of those looking to take a "Jobbatical" and those destinations with friendlier immigration regimes that are willing to let in valuable talent for months or years (which, sadly, the U.S. is not). Choose the right country, Hindriks explains, and the logistics aren't too terrible. And as these are real, paying gigs with growing companies (Jobbatical verifies each job listing to eliminate fraud and scams), you'll actually get a paycheck while living abroad too.
But according to Hindriks, the benefits of the Jobbatical approach to a foreign sabbatical aren't just in the realm of easier practicalities like budgets and visas. Working abroad is inherently enriching, she feels, both for the employer and the team member. "I love Airbnb not only because it is often cheaper than hotels, but because you're experiencing a culture," she says. "This is something we're doing with Jobbatical too. You're joining a team, so both sides will have a broader angle on the world."
Compare that with another year in your cubicle in whatever city you currently call home, and you can understand why the idea of the Jobbatical just might catch on.
Would you be interested in taking a Jobbatical?