Thursday, 17 January 2013

How To Get A Sabbatical

I wouldn’t even know how to start advising people how to get a sabbatical from work and most advice I have read online is pretty generic and this is quite understandable since there are so many industries and job types that its almost impossible to give a step by step tutorial on how to extract a sabbatical from your work with a 100% or even 50% guaranteed chance

Once common answer thou is if you dun try you will never get it.

(Remind me of a saying from a gambler … “no lottery ticket = no luck” as in to even be qualified for anything you need to take the first step)

So this will be my story on how I manage to get a sabbatical and if your work scenario fits even remotely close to what I do and you decide to try what I did well who knows … I wish you all the best.

It was my grand plan of ways and means to get a sabbatical. It wasn’t as if I needed it because I was already prepared to resign and go for the trip regardless if I got the sabbatical or not. However there were privileges on getting a sabbatical; like technically you are still employed hence with a company letter of a sabbatical, it would be easier to apply for a US Tourist Visa plus if I got a sabbatical leave I may have a chance on the benefits of a pro-rated bonus which they dish out once a year.

I work as a site engineer in a construction company on a project base hence for example once the project is finish they would have a few choices for me which is either transfer to another project if available, go on standby mode in HQ doing odd jobs till there is another project available or FIRE. I was also a Malaysian working in Singapore under an employment pass which means once I am out of a job I would need to find one quick or leave the country.

Timing was crucial when asking for a sabbatical. You couldn’t ask for it when your boss is angry or when the project is near critical completion stage and you are holding a lot of loose ends. Normally the second part is true like taking even a normal leave for a few days for it will be rejected coz you are needed for work and there is no one else to replace you or rather it would be a pain in the ass for your boss to train someone else when you have already know the job inside out for three years

I had to find leverage …

Like I said the project that I was working on at that time was near completion and that’s of coz when things gets crazy busy. My employment pass in Singapore however was expiring just three months before the completion of the project.

So there it was my boss’s dilemma. To keep me and finish the job he would need to renew the employment pass but there was a catch to the renewal …
What happens after three months?

He was very honest with me telling me that the company does not have much new projects at the moment and the chance of a lay off was there once the project was completed. I jumped at the new found leverage right away and told him if I were to finish the project I would have a condition attached to it (The Sabbatical). My boss could have hire another guy for just three months but it wouldn’t make sense since I already know the job inside out working there for three years. Hence the picture of a win-win scenario was painted.

I lay the condition that if I was to continue working for that short three months period the company (not my boss) will have to agree and give me a sabbatical for six months in writing and to sweeten the deal if and when I return from the sabbatical if no new projects or openings are available the company have the option to lay me off without any consequences.

Company Win
  1. They get the best guy for the job ( me )
  2. Once the project is finish they dun have to FIRE me
  3. In six months if they need me they have me … if they dun … no hard feelings
  4. No extra cost

My Win
  1. I get a sabbatical in writing ( Used for Applying US VISA )
  2. I got pro-rated bonus agreement written into the sabbatical letter
 ( if there is one for the year of coz .. they never really tell but in all three years serving there always was something )

  1. When I come back high chance for a job waiting for me

So there you have it just like that I had a sabbatical in writing

Note :

  1. During my travels they paid me the pro-rated bonus … which was a huge booster to the travel
  2. When I came back I was given a new project and It sure is a great way to settle back into routine life instead of running around looking for jobs.

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