As Kyle is drawing closer to graduating, he’s facing a job transition. His advisor has offered for him to stay in his current lab as a temporary measure until he finds a postdoctoral position at another university. Academic labs seem fairly flexible in when personnel come and go so between a flexible end date in his current lab and a flexible start date in his next lab, Kyle could choose to go basically immediately from one job to the next or take a few weeks or months off.
Kyle has expressed a few times now the desire to take some time off from work after he graduates. He’s getting a bit burned out and wants to rejuvenate before diving into his next multi-year-long project. I definitely sympathize with this position and as long has he’s secured his postdoc before stopping work in his current lab, I don’t have a philosophical problem with it. (When I was growing up, my father quit a job before securing his next one, planning to take a few months to remodel our house, and had a lot of trouble finding a job again when the economy took a sudden downturn during his break. It has been DRILLED INTO ME that I’m never to stop one job without another lined up.)
I also have been thinking recently that I would love to take about a 3-month break from working. For me it’s not so much the need to relax (a week or two vacation would be quite enough for me) but that I want to build EPF in a way I don’t have time for now. I can barely keep up with my posting schedule, much less work on the business/back end the way I need to. I also have a few ideas for (e)books that I’m dying to write and release but again don’t have the time while I’m trying to push toward graduation. I hope that during my break I would be able to start some passive or at least sustainable streams of income, however small.
So we both have a desire for a sabbatical of sorts from work, though not a permanent one. We haven’t specifically prepared financially for this possibility. With our current budget, one of us not working wouldn’t be the end of the world – with a scaled-back lifestyle we would be slightly in the red each month, which we could easily cover out of savings or some side hustles. So that wouldn’t be so scary/unknown for Kyle’s break before he moves. But as we don’t know where he’ll be living or what he’ll be earning, we can’t predict if it would be so easy for us to live on his salary alone during my break. Then again, we do have kind of a ridiculous amount of cash on hand and could repurpose part or all of it to go toward living expenses for a limited period of time.
I’m sure this isn’t the only time in our life that we’ll want to take a little break from work, even before retirement. At a minimum, I assume we’ll take parental leave (and maybe even some more time) when we have children. Since we’re not striving for early retirement, it makes sense to me to take opportunities for breaks from work when they come and we can afford it.
Have you ever taken a sabbatical from your job or a break between jobs? If you were to take a break, how long would it be and what would you do?
photo from Free Digital Photos