No matter how much people enjoy their job, the colleagues and clients they work with, there comes a point when they need to hit reset. A time to take on new challenges and focus on themselves. At Vested we recognised this need and designed a 12 week paid sabbatical; a programme that Vesties can apply for once they reach the four-year employment milestone.
We sat down with George Pitt, Associate Director at Vested, to discuss his recent sabbatical and what he learnt from the 12 weeks away.
How did you spend your sabbatical?
A core part of the sabbatical programme is focused on personal development so I decided to spend the 12 weeks travelling around South America to improve my Spanish and, at the same time, embrace new cultures and push myself out of my comfort zone. As well as getting to practise the language everyday, I was lucky enough to experience the extremes the continent has to offer, from camping in the depths of the jungle in Colombia to visiting the gateway to Antarctica in Argentina (it was a challenge to fit all types of clothing in one bag!).
Why did you decide to take a sabbatical?
At Vested we are offered two options when we reach the four year milestone: the 12 week paid sabbatical or a three week holiday with a payment to help make the most of it. For me, the 12 weeks was a truly unique opportunity to focus on personal development, rest and recharge, and meet new people from all over the world. It felt like a once in a lifetime experience to be offered the chance to take such a significant amount of time out of the office, especially at this point in my career.
What did you learn from this experience from a professional point of view?
When I wasn’t thinking about how to get from A to B, I actually had a lot of time to think about my career and the ‘what next?’, from the type of clients I want to work with, to the work I want to deliver in the future. This enabled me to come back with a really clear idea of what I want the next six months, 12 months etc. to look like. In addition to this, having the chance to experience so many different cultures and meet different people from all around the world gave me a new perspective and helped realign my professional and personal priorities.
And finally, any tips for those who are thinking about taking a sabbatical?
Really think about what the things you want to get out of a sabbatical are, and then plan the time off around these. Whether it is 12 weeks or a month, the time will fly, so it’s about making sure you have a focused plan so you can do your priorities justice. Also think about the points of contact to help plan for your return. I had a mid-way check-in with the team and a couple of calls before my first day back so I could get my head back into work and wasn’t dropped into the deep end on day one. And finally, make the most of it!