Anyone ever taken a sabbatical?
Thread poster: casey

casey
United States
Local time: 10:31
Member
Japanese to English
Feb 5, 2008

I'm thinking of taking a full-time job in another country. I'd probably do it for a year and during that time try to learn the basics of a new language. Purely out of curiosity (I know circumstances differ from market to market and from person to person), has anyone ever taken an extended leave from freelance duties and then come back? Did your clients welcome you back? Does anyone have any suggestions for someone considering such a thing?

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:31
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Once, but only for two months Feb 5, 2008

When I worked for BBC Monitoring, they had a scheme of "sabbatical leave" for employees who had been there for over 20 years. The leave was for two months, and had to be something useful from the employer's point of view. I took this leave in 1986, and went to Málaga on a two-month course to learn Spanish. I was also doing freelance work at the time, mainly for one firm which sent me work regularly every week. They were quite happy to stop this for two months and resumed in the normal way afterwards. I think my other freelance work continued more or less normally after it too.
More recently, though I didn't take a sabbatical, I spent three months translating a novel, during which time I refused all but the smallest other jobs. I found things a bit slow when I had finished the novel, but they got back to normal quite soon.
Advice: email all your regular customers before you go, telling them when you'll be back.


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casey
United States
Local time: 10:31
Member
Japanese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Jack Feb 5, 2008

I appreciate your input. I'll definitely tell all my clients before I go. I may even try to do small jobs on the weekends, but probably not.

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French Foodie  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:31
French to English
+ ...
and before you get back Feb 5, 2008

I agree with Jack that you need to let them know when you're going and when you'll be back. Having taken two maternity leaves myself, I've also found that a reminder a few weeks before your return, and then another to say that you are back, is a good way to refresh their memories. I can honestly say I only lost one client as a result of my leaves (and it was good riddance anyway). On the contrary, I found they were more than happy to pick up where we had left off and provide me with work upon my return.

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Alexander Chisholm  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:31
Italian to English
+ ...
I took a year to work for a large pharmaceutical company. Feb 5, 2008

The reason was that I wanted to strengthen my scientific writing as opposed to translation skills.
When I decided I wanted to return to freelancing, I sent out reminders to all my old clients (some of whom I had kept in touch with by doing the odd small job anyway) and to my surprise, within a month, I was back to full capacity, and even managed to bump up my rates in the process.


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casey
United States
Local time: 10:31
Member
Japanese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks, Mara and Alexander Feb 6, 2008

So at least it isn't unheard of.

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Anyone ever taken a sabbatical?

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