Monday, 22 September 2014

How to Negotiate a Second Sabbatical Leave of Absence

I thought I should write this since it’s always something that people seams to ask me when they find out I did not quit my job. More bewilderment jaw dropping action seams to follow when they found out I manage to get an even longer (1 Year) sabbatical then my last one (6 Months).  Some facts that need to be known …. Both sabbatical leave was taken from the same company that I have been working. The first one was taken after working in the company for 3 years, and the second one was taken after returning from the first sabbatical 2 ½ years later. 

How the F*ck did I Get It … most company would have fired me by now ….

The above is the usual or somewhat usual respond I usually get from friends and family and it’s always followed some eye rising question speculation that I did some backdoor illegal / under table means to get what I wanted. Well …. Getting a sabbatical is more an art then technicality anyway ….

If I would summarized my way of getting a sabbatical the second time it would go like this

1.    Mental Preparation
If the first big trip requires you to prepare yourself mentally to save up, quit your job, jump into the unknown world of backpacking and visiting places you never dream off let alone do it solo … then the second sabbatical requires preparing your boss and bosses mentally to accept that you are always going to be asking for things that are not of the norm.
You see the first time is easy …. most of my friends and family thought I was insane yet they had this glimmer in their eye telling me they kinda understand that it is a passion, a mid-life crisis or whatever and could consider it as something one would do only once in a lifetime.
So I prepared my Boss, bosses and company that one day I may do it again. 1 year after resuming work I requested plenty of leave of absence … 3 months, 1 months which was all rejected and I continue working but the seed was planted. 2 years later I told my boss to get a replacement for myself … giving him ample of warning that I would be leaving.
Constant reminder, and full of words of encouragement to my management team that I would be going regardless if they grant me or not the sabbatical leave. In my own words … they had 3 months to grant me the approval of my sabbatical else I would approve it myself by resigning.
So it was set in stone mentally to the Bosses head that there was no way to stop me from going on another world tour.
2.    Timing
Requesting a sabbatical is tricky. You don’t want to be the bastard that just chuck all the workload over to your boss and fellow teammates and leaves for a holiday. Since I work project base it’s always best to leave during a project ending … i.e finish your duty and go but then again I was assigned to a 7 year project 6 months prior to my departure. In the end it was agreed that I would help set up the project before I leave, a half-way point …. So I left the project to fellow teammates with big smiles and good wishes of seeing them in a years’ time.  
3.    Why I Need The Sabbatical instead of Resigning
One part that the company could not comprehend was that if I was so determined to go on the trip to the point that I would resign to pursue my world tour why was it then I was asking for a sabbatical?? Well since I am a Malaysian working in Singapore with a work permit a sabbatical means I would not require surrendering my work pass and hence I would have proof of employment during travels.
You never know how tricky it can be trying to cross borders with a jumper profile. Plus without resigning I would not have to go through the trouble of clearing income tax prior to leaving a foreign country which could hold up my paycheck for a few months while I was en-route … lastly as I know from past experience … a sabbatical is less hassle than resignation
4.    Why it’s Good for Company to Gives Sabbaticals
Not only do I need to convince my boss and bosses why I wanted to go on another world tour plus a longer one at that I also had to HARD SELL that it is good for the company to give sabbaticals. There is no loss to the companies that gives sabbaticals since a no pay leave is granted. All benefits from the company during the period of the sabbatical is considered void so technically the company loses nothing by giving sabbaticals.
Reputation wise it look good for a company that gives sabbaticals. Proven fact by the amount of compliment my friends and family telling me how fortunate I was to be working with a company that grants such ridicules requests. To the younger generation it’s definitely a plus point but hopefully I won’t set a trend and be blame for it.
In conclusion … Its good PR to gives sabbaticals …. No loss to company but value gain in reputation
5.    Acceptance
So after months of coxing / threatening / negotiating / they finally agree to give me a sabbatical of 1 Year … don’t be surprise if your sabbatical leave becomes a companywide rumour and gossip ….  Give it time … the envy will lessen with time and true friends will await your return
6.    Farewell with Blessing is always Better than F*uck Off
This is a little extra that I learn this time round. It’s very tempting to say F*ck Off and throw that letter you been wanting to so much just so one could go for a long extended trip but leaving on a good note is always better than burning that bridge. I make my trip a part of my teammates, friends and family which they track me through facebook and this blog. I get text and msg even as I travel asking for advices or even giving me tips and help when I reach places they have been before or have friends and relative.

For those who do not understand … some people whom are unable to do what we do in visiting the world …. They visit the world through our stories …

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