Pros and Cons of Taking a Sabbatical

For employees, a sabbatical ensures work-life balance, and for employers, it can enhance workforce productivity and performance in the long run.

“Your life, time, and brain should belong to you, not to an institution.” ―Grace Llewellyn

Employees currently are showing keen interest in taking a sabbatical to recharge themselves. The trend is catching up globally as some Fortune 500 companies are offering sabbaticals to their loyal and long-serving employees. Is it advisable for employees to take a sabbatical? Will it benefit companies in the long run? 

The current complex world is highly competitive. There is a cut-throat competition everywhere. Additionally, the expectations and aspirations of all the stakeholders across the world are rising rapidly. Employees work hard to establish, prove, and advance their careers. In trying to prove themselves and to compete with and outsmart others, employees get burnt out quickly, often leading to health complications. This can lead to an urgent need to take a sabbatical. 

A sabbatical is a period of time away from your normal work routine. It can be paid or unpaid. Taking a sabbatical is beneficial for both employees and employers. For employees, it ensures work-life balance, and for employers, it enhances productivity and performance in the long run, plus elevating the company’s brand image. As such, taking a sabbatical can be a win-win for both employees and employers.

Prospects and Problems

Taking a sabbatical has both prospects and problems. The prospects are people have freedom to do what they want when they want as they are not controlled by organizational rules and regulations. Although it appears directionless initially in the beginning of taking a sabbatical, it is amazing when they engage in constructive and creative activities. People can execute their pending tasks. They can plan and prepare for their future from a different perspective. They can start their career and life on a clean slate. They can explore new opportunities. They can pursue their passions. They can advance their career and broaden their skills, abilities, and knowledge. They can ensure work-life balance and improve their health. They become totally integrated individuals with introspection and self-awareness, thus, building their personalities holistically. They start thinking about themselves and doing things differently to provide meaning to their lives. Above all, they can make a difference in the world by participating in nonprofit, charitable, and social activities. 

The problems include a lack of steady flow of income to meet their financial commitments. And it takes time to return to normal life when employees are back from a sabbatical because they remain in their comfort zones. They often find it tough to get back on track. Some of them find it challenging to obtain new employment. 

My Personal Experience

I personally took an unpaid sabbatical. I enjoyed a lot, discovered myself, and grew globally as a leadership guru, keynote speaker, and author. I followed my passion to author and publish 40 books in the areas of leadership and executive education. My award-winning book, “21 Success Sutras for CEOs: How Global CEOs Overcome Leadership Challenges in Turbulent Times to Build Good to Great Organizations” ( is selling globally. Another of my books, “21 Success Sutras for Leaders” (, was ranked as one of the Top 10 Leadership Books of the Year – 2013 by San Diego University, USA. I also published several research papers and articles in international journals and magazines. I coined a new leadership style, “Soft Leadership,” and contributed several research papers and articles. Although I encountered lots of financial challenges, I enjoyed taking a sabbatical because I unlocked my full potential as an author and provided meaning to my life. 

Additionally, I started my nonprofit Vision 2030 One Million Global Leaders ( to build 1 million students as global leaders, and I have trained more than 35,000 students so far. Presently I am on a sabbatical and exploring how to achieve this vision.

I also spent my time with my mother. And I did lots of activities that were pending for many years. I prioritized them, worked with persistence, and completed them successfully. I delivered free training programs to nonprofits to accomplish my Vision 2030. I delivered guest lectures and keynoted conferences globally ( I believe taking a sabbatical is one of the best ways to provide meaning to your life. 

Opportunity for Growth

I believe that for those who are burnt out, taking a sabbatical is the best solution. They can build connections outside their profession and enhance their visibility. Stressed out employees can reboot themselves. They can be self-introspective during their career break. They will generate innovative ideas and insights that can help them take new paths in their careers and lives and provide meaning to their lives. I am a strong proponent of taking a sabbatical in the current complex world to grow personally, professionally, and socially. 

 “I have always heard that you need to give yourself a long time to unplug when you do a sabbatical. I unplugged so fast I was a little concerned that I was losing brain capacity.” ―John Ortberg         

Professor M.S. Rao, the father of “Soft Leadership” and founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an international leadership guru with 37 years of experience and the author of more than 40 books, including “21 Success Sutras for CEOs” ( He is a C-suite advisor and global keynote speaker. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. His vision is to develop 1 million students as global leaders by 2030 ( He advocates gender equality globally (#HeForShe) and was honored as an upcoming International Leadership Guru by Global Gurus ( He serves as an advisor and judge for several international organizations, including Global Leadership Awards in Malaysia and Middle East Business Leaders Summits & Awards in Dubai. He developed teaching tool Meka’s Method; leadership training tool 11E Leadership Grid; and leadership learning tool Soft Leadership Grid. Most of his work is available free of charge on his four blogs, including He can be reached at:



Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D.
Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D., is the Father of “Soft Leadership” and the Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an International Leadership Guru with 43 years of experience and the author of 52 books, including the award-winning "See the Light in You" ( He has published more than 300 papers and articles in international publications, including Leader to Leader, Thunderbird International Business Review, Strategic HR Review, Development and Learning in Organizations, Industrial and Commercial Training, On the Horizon, and Entrepreneur magazine. He is a soldier, entrepreneur, editor, educator, author, enlightener, and philosopher. He is a C-suite advisor and global keynote speaker. He brings a strategic eye and long-range vision, given his multifaceted professional experience that includes military, teaching, training, research, consultancy, and philosophy. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. He trains a new generation of leaders through leadership education and publications. His vision is to build one million students as global leaders by 2030 ( He advocates gender equality globally (#HeForShe). He invests his time in authoring books and blogging on executive education, learning, and leadership. Most of his work is available free of charge on his four blogs, including He is a prolific author and a dynamic, energetic, and inspirational leadership speaker. He can be reached at