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Old 29-07-2017, 19:33   #1
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Taking a Leave of Absence

It's one of those things I'd like to do and it's fun to talk about, but I don't seem to be getting any closer to actually doing it after all these years

I'm thinking that actually coming up with a date of departure will give me a goal to work towards. I'd like to leave from Norfolk, VA to the Bahamas and maybe just in and around Florida to the Gulf and then back.

Any advice on how long to take off to make it worth while? How do I approach my bosses? I'm 33 y.o. and 12 years into my position at my company. How long should I put off departure?

Any advice from people who have made a similar trip and/or similar leave would be appreciated! No clue as to where to begin...

Thanks!
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Old 30-07-2017, 00:15   #2
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Re: Taking a Leave of Absence

You live in the US. Don't go till you can afford to go for a year, and come back and find a new job.

When it's a temporary deal, it is best to rent out your house if you own one, not trash your return plan, have something left to come back to. One year can be a good "taste" to see if you want to continue, but if you really want to learn what cruising is all about, you'll want to go off the beaten path, and your prep will cost more. Take a look at the thread where the family put the Leopard 46 on the reef at Huahine. Totally avoidable. But there are risks.

Fwiw, Jim and my first year out, we discovered we didn't have our financial ducks lined up right. It took 6,800 mi. to windward and another year and a half, both working, plus the sale of the house, to create a cruising kitty. No regrets here.

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Old 30-07-2017, 01:52   #3
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Re: Taking a Leave of Absence

Question for the OP: What is stopping you?

Money? Sailing skills? A nasty boss?

Answering this question would likely be a great starting point, for yourself and for others here who would be happy to give advice.
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Old 30-07-2017, 05:55   #4
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Re: Taking a Leave of Absence

I considered going this route, but was eligible to retire so I took that gamble, instead.

I think a frank discussion with your boss would be the best place to start. You might be surprised by how supportive he/she is of your career goals.

In my case, it turns out my boss would have been OK with a 3-month sabbatical. I mentioned it just to see what the response would be, although I'd already decided. I also knew that the time would be right (in between major projects) and that it had been done by others in the company. I suspect if the workload had been different, or the company culture wasn't supportive, I'd have gotten a straight answer, explaining why it wasn't practical.
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Old 30-07-2017, 09:01   #5
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Re: Taking a Leave of Absence

Before I retired, I worked in a unionized environment. The LOAs were spelled out in the collective agreement. I took full advantage.

Assuming that is not the case, unless you are extra-ordinarily lucky, you probably will have to quit and find another job when you return.
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Old 30-07-2017, 09:04   #6
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Re: Taking a Leave of Absence

3 months.

Negotiate a leave and go.

How's that for a quick reply? :-)
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Old 30-07-2017, 10:04   #7
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Re: Taking a Leave of Absence

21 years ago, my wife and I both took 3 month sabbiticals from challenging jobs with our large employers, who were willing to keep our jobs for us when we returned. We both had long service with good records.

We spent two months cruising SE Alaska in our 22-foot C-Dory - what an experience! It took several days before we were really unhooked from our work environment, after which we relaxed as never before, and were challenged mainly by the weather and the fish. Could not have done anything like it in a standard 2-3-week vacation.
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Old 30-07-2017, 10:12   #8
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Re: Taking a Leave of Absence

I did exactly this in 2014/15. I took 7 months, but continued to work part-time (about 20 hrs per week). I did most of this via computer, but had to tie up the boat and make the occasional flight somewhere. I am an engineer, working in Consulting and it worked very well to the point where now (at 56) I have just gone part-time again. This time permanently. On our first trip we left from Brunswick, GA, went south to the Bahamas, around the Keys and ended up in Pensacola. The plan was to take the boat up the river to Chattanooga, but we loved the Pensacola area and decided to relocate there. Since then, we have taken extended trips (2-3 months) each year and are planning our next 6-7 month trip to start in November 2017.


It has worked real well for us. If I work 20 hours, I can maintain my benefits (health, 401k etc.), so this has been well worth it. The key is proposing a mutually beneficial deal to your employer. Send me a PM if I can help in any way, and take a look at our blog and videos at https://midnightsunii.blogspot.com/ Hopefully something there will inspire you to set a date and go soon!....as that is the key! Time your departure to make the most of non-hurricane season. My one big take away from doing this for a few years now is......most people you will meet will tell you they wish they had done it sooner.


Good luck!
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Old 30-07-2017, 10:40   #9
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Re: Taking a Leave of Absence

My girlfriend and I are taking two years off. She quit her job. I work in a small group and was able to take a two year sabbatical.

I'm renting my house out. I sold one of my cars. The other car I'm loaning out.

It all depends on your specific situation. In my case, I got to the point where the trip was more important to me than my job. When I approached my group to take a leave of absence, I was prepared to quit if they said no. Fortunately they said yes.
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Old 30-07-2017, 11:21   #10
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Re: Taking a Leave of Absence

Some other things to consider. Will your employer supply you with insurance when you leave work?Because if you have to purchase Cobra insurance that's probably going to cost you and your wife close to $800-$1000 a month. Another thing to consider is with Obama care if you don't have Proof of insurance you will get nailed for that lapse in coverage. It's a slick world don't you think? What will happen with your place in seniority?

Whether you work in a union shop or nonunion employment center has a lot to do with it. It also has a lot to do with your bosses disposition towards such a matter. Personally I would not grant it to anybody. Maybe three months would be Ok! It really is not a good position to put your employer in. Try to look at it from their side also. I wish you luck and if you succeed I'm so jealous !
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Old 30-07-2017, 15:37   #11
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Re: Taking a Leave of Absence

I took a sabbatical from my wife and job. Made me realize how lucky I was having my wife. Jobs come and go. A great wife comes along once in lifetime.

Do the sabbatical but if married bring her or fly her in. If you don't miss her it's time to change.
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Old 30-07-2017, 16:17   #12
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Re: Taking a Leave of Absence

Quote:
Originally Posted by alansmith View Post
Some other things to consider. Will your employer supply you with insurance when you leave work?Because if you have to purchase Cobra insurance that's probably going to cost you and your wife close to $800-$1000 a month. Another thing to consider is with Obama care if you don't have Proof of insurance you will get nailed for that lapse in coverage. It's a slick world don't you think? What will happen with your place in seniority?

Whether you work in a union shop or nonunion employment center has a lot to do with it. It also has a lot to do with your bosses disposition towards such a matter. Personally I would not grant it to anybody. Maybe three months would be Ok! It really is not a good position to put your employer in. Try to look at it from their side also. I wish you luck and if you succeed I'm so jealous !
Nothing to do with a sabbatical, but COBRA? When my husband retired (thus, I retired) and we went with COBRA, the cost was about $1600/month for the two of us (at the time, me/51, him/60). Moving to the ACA was much cheaper; about $900/month for the two of us.

However, if you leave the country for any significant amount of time, you are NOT required to have insurance that complies with the ACA. See #12, below.

https://www.irs.gov/affordable-care-...lity-provision
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Old 30-07-2017, 17:45   #13
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Re: Taking a Leave of Absence

You're asking a question that it's very difficult to answer not knowing your job, career or employer or your financial situation. It's not just how long to make it worthwhile, it's how long not to seriously damage your career.

This is something many like you really yearn for in the U.S. because we don't have the vacation and holiday time of other countries. Those who have 4 to 6 weeks off a year, essentially are getting what you desire annually. My last job, I negotiated more vacation as time went on.

Is it something you're wanting to get to or something you're wanting to get away from? You don't mention if there's a spouse or children involved.

Some companies have policies for unpaid leaves but, sadly, most companies do not have very good policies and positions aren't protected and employees out for long times suffer significantly. Only you have observed and know your employer.

I don't know how valuable you are as an employee but many companies feel like if they can get along without you for a couple of months, then they could get by without you all the time.

I don't like how employers react, but just warning the reality. The most common leaves are maternity leave. Think to yourself how they've been regarding them? The FMLA says they must return to the same or equivalent job but there are so many loopholes and exceptions.

I might suggest working toward something that would give you more leisure time and more time off and then working toward an earlier retirement.
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Old 31-07-2017, 07:54   #14
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Re: Taking a Leave of Absence

You're 33 with 12 years at the same company. Its natural to wonder what else might be out there for you. And you're​ going to be fine. You've got a long career ahead of you and plenty of time to make things happen for you.
You're getting good advice here: 1- Start with a 3 month sabbatical and (this is important) get as far away from your current life as possible. 2- Don't sell all your stuff. Have a life to come back to. 3- When negotiating you must be prepared, but not eager, to quit. 4- Have a years expenses saved up, so you can take a few months off and still have plenty of funds to carry you through an extended job search. You wont need it, but you'll sleep better.
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Old 31-07-2017, 12:56   #15
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Re: Taking a Leave of Absence

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Originally Posted by vette67 View Post
You're 33 with 12 years at the same company. Its natural to wonder what else might be out there for you. And you're​ going to be fine. You've got a long career ahead of you and plenty of time to make things happen for you.
.
12 years with the same company at your age is very unusual. If it's a job you like, value that highly. Do only what they are comfortable with, don't push their limits. I was lucky to have a 24 year career with one company and it's successor company. That opportunity is just so rare today.
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