Samantha’s Sabbatical: Intro and Frequently Asked Questions

Sabbatical

Hi. I’m Samatha.  I’m a working mom, corporate employee, our family’s breadwinner, and mom of 2. I love my job, but I am ready for a break. 

I’m thrilled to be joining Women’s Money for a regular series during 2021 to tell you about my plans to take a year off.

That’s right. I’m planning to take a year-long sabbatical from my job in 2022. 

In this introduction post, I’ll answer some of the most common questions I expect to get about my plans to take a year off work.

Why are you taking a sabbatical? What are you going to do with your year off?

While only a few people know about my plans, they have all asked me — why are you taking a sabbatical? Is this like a gap year? Or just a mid-life crisis?

Honestly, I’m not yet sure what I’m going to with my year off. The company I currently work for doesn’t have a formal sabbatical program. I think if I asked for a sabbatical, I might be able to negotiate one. Though I doubt it would be for a full year. So I’m still contemplating if it’s a true sabbatical from my company or an all-out “gap year” where I would quit my job.

In my mind, a gap year is a year where I will move onto a new activity (usually college or work) and after that year, the time is up. For me, I currently plan to return to the same line of work. 

Is this a mid-life crisis?

Perhaps. I’m about 40, so it is entirely possible. 

What I do know is this. I want a break from work. I want to take art classes, travel, work out, write, spend time with my kids, spouse, and dog. I want to do this and not be entirely sleep deprived. I want to be creative and not feel constrained or tied down.

My job is exceptionally demanding. Being a parent to two small kids is also exceptionally demanding. 

If there is something I’ve learned from this year during COVID of full-time parenting/working from home/remote teaching, it’s this: I’m ready to be fully present for my kids. But also for myself. 

How much money are you planning to save to take your time off?

I am still figuring out how much money I plan to save.  Since this is a personal finance website, I’m certain this will be the subject of several posts. 

Let me say this: I am extremely fortunate to have a relatively high paying job. The amount I will have to save will be more than many Americans have saved for retirement and more than many families earn in even several years of work. I fully acknowledge my privilege here.  

Let me also say that less than ten years ago, my full-time job earned me only $30k/year. My spouse’s job was even less than that. Additionally, we were living in one of the most expensive areas in the country. (Our studio apartment cost more per month to rent than my current mortgage payment.)  But we managed to save nearly 50% of our money and spend almost a year traveling the world.  

The Bottom Line

While it is an incredible privilege to be in a position to save enough money to take time off of work, I also know that it is possible for more people than you might think.

I look forward to our weekly conversations about my plans for 2022!

What are your biggest questions about planning for a sabbatical?

This post is part of our Sabbatical Sundays series. To read more, click here.

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