Do I Get a Sabbatical?

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So far the sky hasn’t fallen and so far everyone’s (except my parents) being very encouraging about my plans.  I did have the talk with my boss about my plans to travel.  Before initiating the conversation I did quite a bit of research on how to set it up and was more than a little stressed to walk through it.  Even though I had no faith that my company would offer extended sabbatical or personal leave time (very old, large US based company), it was still nerve racking. 

An Anticlimactic Sabbatical Conversation

The conversation didn’t go at all like I would have expected.  Typically I expect a conversation that would result in my leaving a company or relationship is typically not going to be a comfortable one.  On the contrary, my boss responded very positively even saying that if anything he was jealous he couldn’t do the same thing.  Many of the travels blogs I’ve been following shared that this is one of the more common reactions that people have.  It’s just different when you hear it for yourself.  I can’t say how much I appreciated his supportive reaction. 

I’ve mostly expected to hear how I’m nuts leaving a well paying job in this economy with a mortgage to pay and other responsibilities.  So far, I’m only hearing the doom and gloom feedback from my parents, bless their hearts.  Of course they’re worried that I’ve just ended my career, will get hurt or kidnapped in a foreign country, or will come back and not be able to find a job. 

Sure, I’ve thought about all of those things, and as is my nature, one by one explored the likely impacts.  Most of my research knocks down all of those concerns quit easily. 

Impact to My Career by Leaving to Travel Around the World

I actually know people that have successfully spent a extended time traveling in the past, leaving Corporate America jobs similar to mine and are now back and doing quite well in their careers.  It also says something that my boss wants me to come back.  If that hadn’t been the case, I might have changed my opinion on this one. 

In addition, many of the travelers have created location independent income while exploring other countries.  I’m not placing all my hopes on generating income while traveling, but it certainly won’t hurt to try and since I’ve been dabbling with websites and web marketing for years, I’ve at least got an avenue to explore.

Safety Rumors Debunked Traveling Around the Globe

As far as safety, talking to people who’ve actually spent time in countries I plan to visit, crime in most countries is no worse than it is within these United States.  In fact, many countries are considered to be safer.  There are still places in this world where you can safely hitchhike or leave your doors unlocked.  Mind you, I won’t be testing either but it certainly says something that other people do and find it safe.  Just like I’m not going to spend a lot of time in certain areas of Dallas, the same would apply for any city I travel to.  Common sense goes a long way.  If anything happens I’d probably be more likely to get locked up abroad.  At least if that does happen my brother says he’ll bail me out and hey, I might even get on that Nat Geo show. 

Outcome of the Sabbatical Request

In the end, I got the answer I expected.  My boss and HR went a couple of rounds and the best they could offer was 3 months personal leave.  Mostly I was relieved that they weren’t able to offer more.  While the prospect of coming back without a job is scary, I like the idea of not having a time table so that if I happen to grow and change from the adventures in the coming year, I’m not committed to the box I live in today.  Not that it’s a bad box, it just might not be the box I want tomorrow. 

After learning the news, even though I was relieved, I still went into that panic that I normally only feel when propelled in front of a large crowd to speak.  Yes, I hate public speaking along with the majority of Americans!  So if you know that feeling you get in your gut and the sensation of being just a bit shaky, that’s where I was.  It wasn’t so much that I wouldn’t have a job when I come back.  I was prepared for that.  It was more so that everything was becoming real.  For some reason that answer left me second guessing and flipping out for a minute. 

Luckily, with a few minutes and some deep breaths I realized everything I already knew.  I’ve always wanted to do this and I’ll regret it if I don’t follow through.  Regret is the one thing in life I hate most….even trumping laundry. 

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