Thinking to quit my job and take 2-3 year sabbatical to travel and enjoy life. Anyone done it? Is it hard to get a job after not working for several years?
- HPE Chinaman1Tell us more - how old are you? How can you afford to take 2-3 years off to goof off?
- You can think of passive vs active income as a spectrum. On one side you have 100% active income, a job where you exchange your time for money. On the other side of the spectrum you have fixed income securities which is the only source of 100% passive income. I spend less than an hour per week managing my AirBnb business, so it's relatively passive.
- HPE Chinaman1What are you going to do though? Do you have a plan for the sabbatical? You’ll get bored pretty quick, trust me. Heck, I feel like I have nothing to do right now even with a job - I don’t know how to fill the time!
- Amazon / EngpatelraI read something on Huffington Post that the most optimal vacation is 8 days, anything after that and you just get bored. Have you considered taking a month off to travel and see how you like it? 2-3 years seems excessive
- Hi there! I'm about your age and in the last 10 years I have taken three sabbaticals each lasting 9 months. During those periods I learned new skills and hobbies, traveled the country, read books, spent time with family, took adventure trips off grid and visited friends. They have been the best periods of my life and often the personal work I tackle there leads me to my next job. If you don't relate to people who would 'get bored' with 'nothing to do' then I highly recommend doing it. It is my view that work gets in the way of the more interesting stuff and that time is needed away in order to grow. Time away also allows space to reflect on your career thus far... And to plan for where you want to go in the future and how best to fashion your strategy to get there.
- Amazon / ProducttatochipI too am a similar age and took 15 months off at the age of 30 in order to take a step back and explore more of the world and my interests. I traveled the country for the first month, spending time with friends. I read a lot, particularly about personal interests that I could potentially pivot into a bit of a career change (creative coding and 3D printing vs development of typical corporate software). I traveled to conferences related to those interests, both in the US and abroad. And I even worked on a friend's cranberry marsh for 6 weeks just for the experience. Those 15 months were awesome. There is nothing that compares to the feeling of living each day as you want to live it, not having to comply with the expectations of others. I can't recommend it enough. But there are things you should be aware of. 1) You may spend money faster than you think you will, which is easy when you are traveling. 2) Most people you know will still have rigid schedules and responsibilities, so it can be a bit of a lonely experience. 3) If you are going to pursue something new, it may be difficult to get feedback or learn from others -- a typical office job provides those often overlooked benefits. You could find that you question your abilities or struggle to set / pursue goals if you don't have coworkers around you. If you have any hesitations about any of that stuff, it would probably be good to follow the advice others have provided and start by taking something like a month-long vacation to see how it affects you.
- Re. Affordability: prior to my job in tech I was self employed for many years in what used to be a well paying industry ( times have changed). I didn't live in the Bay and my COL was insanely low.. allowing me to save a good bit of money. Anything I didn't invest I put towards my sabbaticals after deciding how much runway I wanted. For one sabbatical I just went without healthcare, for the others I was covered through my wife's care at a reasonable rate.
- I'll follow @tatochip and add some gotchas that I discovered in my sabbatical adventures: 1) Yup - you'll spend money faster than you think. Be sure to start lining up your next gig when you have two months+ of cash left to burn. 2) embracing a simple and minimal diet will help save money. 3) I actually loved that my friends were on regular working schedules - I would meet different friends for lunch at or near their work and invite them out for drinks in the evenings. It was the most social time of my life and my friends all enjoyed my energy. 4) I did deal with self doubt which gets worse as time goes on. We live in a culture that messages us to be busy and productive all the time. Going against this grain feels audacious. The messaging got to me and sometimes I would wonder if I would find work ever again. I can tell you after three sabbaticals: I always end up in a better place with more life experience and no regrets. 5) I have absolutely sacrificed earning potential and career status... But I'm doing fine and I feel the trade-off was worth it. It's my tax for having lived on my own terms and I'm happy to have spent the money.
- All about DOSing leetcode. You can always work on side project or get contract work for a while.
- I've done a month off, and honestly, it was enough. I felt amazing by the end of it. I would probably lose my mind in 2-3 years without intellectual stimulation.
- I feel like you aren't getting good advice on what you are asking, and it's just a bunch of workaholics answering that they will be bored. Just because their life revolves around work doesn't mean yours is. I have friends who's taken 6 months to 1 year off to travel, to chill, pursue different hobbies and they've had 0 issues finding a job. One works at Google now and another one at an unicorn startup.
Companies understand burnout and you wanting to take a break. As long as you leetcode and crush your interview on the way back I see 0 issues
- Google Mark985I think about doing the same half of my work day. I've works for 19 years and I don't want to wait to until retirement with all sorts illments like arthritis to enjoy life.
If you have the courtage to swim against what society deemands of us all the power to you!
- Amazon rumpNoTI just finished my parental leave, almost 3 months. It's awesome. Haven't take that long vacation for 15+ years. I just don't want to be back for work.
- I am off on sabbatical right now. I hit FI before quitting, told my work that I was taking an extended leave and told my very close friends that I’m debating retiring.
It’s been AWESOME. For the first time in years I feel refreshed. I thought I was ready to flip the whole industry the finger and go back to the motherland but now I am thinking of going back in the most chill position I can find.
- Don’t remember my MS numbers, was at about 330k at google.
Biggest advice I can give is to really scrutinize your spending. It is way easier to shave 5 years off your time to FI by spending smarter than it is to do so by earning more. When you are deciding if you want to buy X or Y don’t just look at the cost of the product, think about how much you spend per year on that recurring purchase, multiply it by 25 and that’s it’s true cost to your ability to retire. Organic chicken vs non organic doesn’t seem as appealing when you realize that it adds $7000 to your cost of retirement. Same for your morning coffee, your car insurance, the shampoo you buy, etc etc.
- I've done it recently. In my case, it wasn't hard to get next job, but having trouble in doing my work well.
- Salesforce alphabHit me up if you need a buddy on your journey! Pretty much the same age, the same career boat and I am planning on doing that myself.
For all that I can earn, I don’t wanna die knowing there was a world I didn’t explore like the way it was meant to be seen.
- Microsoft UDrN11What's pathetic? Your greedy money hunting ass is pathetic. No one is going to.give a shit if you're rich when you're married, 50, and have 2 kids and the only satisfaction you get from your hard work is passively bragging around people with less money than you. Be honest with yourself.Apr 315
- New / MgmtVSwf01It's stupid. I did so for 9 years. Blew my savings and wasn't earning. Don't waste the best times your life.
- I'd imagine those 2-3 years will change you completely. Don't bother about getting back to work. I bet you will never return to what you are doing now after that sabbatical. Perhaps you will live in a completely different place and become a beekeeper instead. I've seen only few guys who did it for 1.5 years and they were totally changed. Let it happen!
- You should definitely do it. I’m starting my trip in a couple of months. I have been planing it for a while to figure out the high level plan. I’m going to to 13 different countries for couple years. I have talked to couple of people who have done this and they had no problem of getting back to work. Once you come back, you will just need a couple months to adjust. The world is so much bigger than all these things happing at work. Work is not your life, it’s only part of life. Many of my coworkers wish they could do what I do. They all have commitments or other attachments. If you have the opportunity to do it. Do it. You many not have that chance again. “It will change your life,” said by multiple people I have talked to. There are documentaries of people who have done this online. You can watch them on Netflix.
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- For a lot of us even these fancy jobs in tech are just a means to an end. What we truly love is to pursue our own projects and to exist outside of schedules and clock-time. Sometimes the 'deeper problem' is that we have to work at all. PS I'm envious of those who can really say they love their jobs (my wife is one)... That's a great place to be!
- Apple SpraynardmoreI took 3 months off last year and traveled to 7 different countries. It was great! I think everyone should do it. I decided not to look for work right away when I got back, so all-in-all about 6 months off. I found 3 months traveling about my limit, although that was out of a suitcase and not an RV. But I have to echo some here, 2+ years at 34 might not be the best idea. If I had to give advice I’d say, transition to a contract role first. Establish a client or two and then take a year. It will be A LOT easier to come back from. 2+ years employers in the future will look at this as you lost your desire for the job and might not want to take a chance hiring you. If only a year they look at it as a sabbatical and not a mid life crisis. Plus after so long I imagine you’d have a hard time summoning the will to return. A year will probably scratch your itch and not shut all doors. Although on the flip side, after a couple years off you may find an entirely different (new found) hobby (that isn’t a video game) as something you’d like to pursue as a second career. ???
But also consider this, starting about your age is the prime years that you start to compile wealth, and to take time off just to do it cuts into this time of wealth building and unless you really are a trustafarian you might shoot yourself in the long run by making it so that you have to work an extra 5-10 years on the backside for this little endeavor.
My plan is to compile cash and try to find a nice cheap place to retire to that my coffers will last me until I die, like Thailand or some other cheap country that costs half as much as the US but isn’t a third world sHole.
Overall I think it’s pretty risky move to do such a long time away. Just my two cents
- Monster / MgmtmeddicmoreI would just do some social media documenting/content of your “journey” when you are in an interview you can point towards the industry specific things you experienced
- Facebook / CreativedapperdadmoreI took a bereavement leave and spent my time playing in a metal band for healing and now I’m back with my mojo back ready to rock it again in a startup.
My mom always repeated Twain and added her own, “never let school get in the way of your education...and never let a job get in the way of your career.”
- Western Digital SanDiskDon't, this is the prime years of your career. Take a few months between jobs but don't just quit to travel.
- Not if you have kids though! At least it’ll be much harder to travel for the first 5-10 years, plus you can’t really do trips longer than a month. (That said my interests lean towards other things than serious travel so I’m doing exactly what you say — trying to reach FIRE before taking a long time off to find myself)
- Once my kids are in elementary school, I plan on travelling overseas for 2-3 months during their summer break. Each year I would stay in a different country. It would be cool to get to know the culture of each country. I might also rent out my house during that time to offset the travel costs. I could also combine it with serving at a nonprofit overseas if I get bored.
- My buddy did it for 3 years and loved every second of his time off. We will be jealous of your experiences and want to do the same when we retire, but we will be sitting in hot tubs while our grandchildren run around us. That's when we realize we failed in life while worrying about our careers, and remember you.
- Doesn't have to be a hippie life. If you have enough dough, you can live like a baller in a lot of the countries, where your daily spenditure is around $5-$10. If lounging an ass on some typical resort is your thing, then god speed. You don't know what you haven't experienced.
- I took four years, during which I opened a non-tech business. When I wanted to come back, it took me half a year to find a job - it was extremely hard just to get an interview. When I did find a job, within weeks I was flooded with better offers, and within a few months I was back to my old self career-wise, except I was no longer burnt-out.
- VMware / Eng?’h2!,moreI think it is smart to take time off if you can. 3 months, 6 months or even a year sure but 2 to 3 years that’s a lifetime in this business. If you are going to take that much time off, make it a point to do things to keep your skills sharp. Have some pet projects to keep you busy on long flights. Code up some BS app just for shits and grins.
- I have a buddy who took off a year got a job as online professor and drove around the Country in an RV giving the lecture online from different places.
- Microsoft Dxog01Take a year off and travel the world. See how it goes and then make a decision. Just don’t return with no cash in the bank. Waiting to travel when your old is a big mistake. Do it young where you can walk 20-30 miles a day.
- Google JuergenGo do it. What’s the big deal. You can always find a minimum wage job if nothing works out
- What’s your opportunity cost? I.e how much your networth be if you don’t take the long sabbatical.
Just replace your sabbatical by stealth mode startup if you have trouble getting back in!
- @not-a-dev Yes, but you also need to support yourself when you work. I calculated opportunity cost as missed paychecks + trip expenses - my regular expenses during that time if I kept working in high COL area. My expenses during sabbatical will be lower than normal expenses since I won't be paying rent and won't be eating out as much.
- Microsoft moxbillThe biggest opportunity cost is the missing compound interest from 401k contributions and not salary alone. I'm 100% taking 2-3 years off several years from now. The truth is, the tech market isn't that complicated at all. Still reading tech news, and also tackling my big book of ideas and raising my kids will be my thing
- I took a 6 months mental health sabbatical (aka rehab) and came back to my job and just feeling like going back to the rehab because work is no fun
- Microsoft zx48No matter who you are or what you do the chances are high that you'll wake up one day and realize that whatever you did job-related is not so valuable as you might think now. New life experiences, your love, true friends, your kids is what you're going to have bright recollections about. Maybe also your bravery when you decided to leave for-hire work and start your own business. So yeah, if you have that opportunity, seize it.
- Hi OP, I have done this a couple times now: I would take a job, work for a few years and when I feel the learning slowed down and things start to get repetitive, I leave the job and go on the road, intending to spend all $ saved. Each time I run out of things to do in about 1 year, during which I would get inspired to get into a completely new career. Some findings are that it's actually quite hard to spend all the $ (given you work in tech or similar), and the experience is absolutely invaluable, more often than not they opened more doors for me. =) Really hope you'll get the courage to do this!
- I was 24 and 28, now I’m 30 and planning to continue this. Every time I come back deciding to re-learn a different trade from scratch and get into a different industry. On the road I met many, many people, young and old, with (really) not much $ but lived very happily. They travel and believe that when needed, they can always find a job and make a living. I think they are right, it’s not hard to survive or even live well in the world, people here are way too conservative when it comes to saving for long term travels.Apr 134
- I took just 1yr off after working straight for 8yrs In pretty intense jobs. Did lots of international traveling, read tons, picked up new hobbies; in short, was amazing but I got massively bored after around 8mo and decided to dive back into recruiting. Was not difficult to get reemployed (took ~4months from starting to interview to closing). Generally if you have a strong job history and career trajectory and a good reason for taking time off, no one will ding you for doing so. If anything it makes you a more well rounded person who better understands his/her own motivations, goals in life/work. I strongly encourage you to take the plunge :) you’ll discover a lot about yourself and what actually matters to you in the process
- I was just honest...was a hard decision to leave my previous company, but worked my a## off for 8yrs straight without more than 1week vaca here and there, and it was prime to take a step back and recalibrate myself & my goals in life. Now I’m back/recharged and ready to go. No one even questioned that for a second, and if they do, you probably don’t want to work for them
- Capital One 94xzInteresting seeing so many negative comments and people questioning you. I say do it. If you can afford to take time off I see no problem doing it. As a hiring manager I would think that taking a couple of years of to do what you want is pretty cool and would have zero problems hiring you. As long as you pass the interview process, I could care less. Because of the break, you may come back being a better employee for all I know. If someone thinks negatively of the time off, you don’t want to work for them anyway.
- I am financially independent. I haven’t had to work for years. The reason I’ve never taken a sabbatical is that once you do your network of connections will start immediately going stale and you permanently reduce your trajectory.
If you’re FI, then go for it. If you’re not, I would suggest you plan to get yourself there and just be done at 40-something.
- Your professional network (people who think “I would hire this guy at my next gig” about you) is probably the most valuable thing you build over a career. If you’re using recruiters instead of people pulling you in then you’ve fucked up and need to work on fixing that. I haven’t used a recruiter since I got out of college.
- Credit Karma yoyockI took a year off and it was great. There are parts of the world you just can't experience in an American length vacation. The only caveat is that it eventually looses it's luster. The peak excitement was the around 3 or 4 months in. I plan to take more breaks in my career, but shorter than a year. Safe travels!
- Amazon / Eng🦎 geckoMy dad did. 3 years off and it took 8 months to get a part time job even tho he had 25 YOE. Ageism is a thing.
- You never know. You can find something more meaningful along your way. Nas Daily is my biggest inspiration.