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Ask HN: What are your thoughts on taking a career sabbatical?
4 points by caser on Nov 16, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 10 comments
Those of us in tech are quite privileged, in that it's pretty likely that even if we take 3, 6, 12 months off from work, we can find a job relatively easily when we come back.

Still, I see a lot of people jumping from job to job without really taking time off to do the things they might not be able to do while working (travel, hack out a side project, etc.).

What do you think about taking a sabbatical? What holds you back from taking one if you haven't / won't?

Having a mid-career "stop/pause/sabbatical" is a really good idea if you can afford it.

You don't realize how much of your daily life is done in autopilot until you stop and have time to think about your priorities, specially your career priorities.

In my case it helped me to focus on what I wanted to do the next 10 years (DATA), and get more confidence on what can I do as a developer (15+ years without serious coding).

Just one suggestion: during that time play every contess/prize you find about your career. This forces you to work on deadlines and speeds-up a lot how you learn.

I would love to do this if only I had enough money to support myself for a year :-) Though not that easy when you have family to care of..

I am thinking of taking one too. Not too sure on what to do with the time though.

I wanna do something focused for that time than a bunch of random small things.

Do you have any recommendations? A nice 4month program would be super nice.

I work at a big company. Long break on your CV is a red flag for HR and Hiring Managers. It might be a different at smaller companies.

What's the reasoning behind this? If someone wants to take 6 months off between jobs to travel/spend time with family/whatever, why is this seen as a negative?

Maybe because you are not being a good cog in the machine. Do anything unusual and you may be seen as a risky hire.

Of course, it depends on the company, but this is what I recall from my corporate years.

Never really understood it. I think people are afraid that CS/EE people after chilling out for 3,6 or 12 months will forget everything? Do you know the reasoning?

If you have 2 candidates one that has been working and one that hasn't which would be less risky to hire? Despite what you hear on HN we get plenty of resumes to pick from.

I would argue that there's no correlation. This exercise is pretty easy:

If I gave you money for a year to keep you and your family alive, and gave you free time to do whatever you want, do you really think you'd come back as a worse expert after a year?

Some people will take a year of and do nothing; some people will be bored to death after 3 months of doing nothing and for the next 9 months will learn tons of skills, new programming language etc. I'd not disqualify them because of that.

> Long break on your CV is a red flag for HR and Hiring Managers.

To the contrary-- I've known many people come back from a sabbatical/garden leave scenarios. Universally, the reaction is 'I wish I could take extended time-off like that'. It helps to have a great cover story like hiking the Inca Trail or spent time developing an extra cool project. *Providing care for an elderly loved one also gets understanding nods.

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