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Your Radical Sabbatical

Bob Goldman on

Here's a good idea -- after reading this column, tell your manager that you are going out to get coffee and don't come back for a year. You'll still be paid your full salary and, when you return, your job -- and your coffee -- will be waiting for you.

It's not a fantasy. It's a sabbatical.

How many companies offer paid sabbaticals to their employees?

According to the 2017 Employee Benefits Survey conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management, 5 percent of companies offer paid sabbaticals to their employees.

Alas, most of the jobs that include a sabbatical as a perk are in higher education, so you're probably stuck, unless you decide to publish your Ph.D. thesis on the measurement of the neutron beta decay asymmetry using ultracold neutrons. (Some of your best work, BTW. I loved the part about making itsy-bitsy fleece coats for the neutrons.)

I learned about sabbaticals from an article by writer Judith Ohikuare on Refinery29, a website that is either designed to offer helpful job advice or to drive us crazy with all kind of perks that our employers will never ever offer.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't ask.

Unfortunately, the place you have to ask is the human resources department, a group of loving, caring individuals who wouldn't approve the expense account of a starving man for the cost of a baloney sandwich.

One good way to get yourself extended time off is to use the sabbatical to take a college course in a subject that will be of use to the company, like Torture 101, an in-depth survey of the torture techniques used in the Inquisition. Now that's information a manager could use.

An extended leave to care for a sick family member is also a good, backdoor approach to a sabbatical. I'm not sure the nasty case of underwing molt that has been plaguing your parakeet will qualify, but who can argue about the importance of a possible rupture in your most serious relationship?

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