Fulfill a goal. Build a skill. Learn and grow.
There are many differing reasons why one might take advantage of the opportunity to go on a sabbatical. At Protiviti, we fully understand the value in that and support our team members as they find, define and live their passions.
That’s right — a sabbatical isn’t just an extended vacation!
We’ve caught up with four of our employees who recently took a sabbatical for a variety of different reasons. They shared with us what they learned, what they will take with them in their day-to-day, as well as their careers, and advice to anyone who is interested in potentially doing a sabbatical.
Chapter 1: Travel + Learn New Cultures, Volunteer at an Orphanage
First, we take to the Northeast to meet with Risk and Compliance Experienced Senior Consultant, Julian, from the New York City office. Julian, a graduate of Northeastern University (’14), recently returned from a sabbatical in which he visited a number of cities both state-side and around the world. He used his time to focus on self-education and also volunteered at an orphanage in Peru for several weeks!
Cait: Tell us a bit about your sabbatical travels. What sparked your interest in the program?
Julian: “In college I was lucky enough to study abroad in Iceland and Greece which sparked my interest in travel. After hearing about the sabbatical program I was immediately intrigued, but I never really thought I would actually do it. I applied for sabbatical after realizing that I would finish my project and finish paying off my student loans at the end of year, so the timing was perfect and I had no excuses left. From January to March I traveled to Austin, San Diego, Los Angeles, various cities in Japan, Chiang Mai, Ho Chi Minh, Honk Kong, Beijing, Cusco, and Rio de Janeiro. Highlights of the trip included free concerts in Austin, surfing in San Diego, eating a copious amount of food in Japan, scootering in Chiang Mai, eating a copious amount of food in Ho Chi Minh, walking the Great Wall, and hiking to Machu Picchu. I mainly used sabbatical to educate via travel but I also met up with friends and family along the way.”
Julian: “There are an infinite amount of solutions to any problem. It’s not exactly anything new or mind blowing, but traveling does ‘burst your bubble’ and opens your eyes to ideas you may have never thought about by exposing yourself to different cultures and people.”
Cait: What is your advice for someone who is thinking about taking a sabbatical?
Julian: “The times I enjoyed most were in Japan and Peru where I spent about 3 weeks a piece in each country and was able to get a gist of the culture. I wish I stayed in one or two locations for a long period of time instead of jumping around to a different location every week, as many other travelers told me “you cannot see the whole world in one trip”. Focus on the sites that are must-sees and then just roam around the rest of the time. Traveling does not have to be expensive — if you have some points and a sensible budget, you can get by on a lot less then you think. Also, if you do not like traveling, a sabbatical can be a great way to learn a new skill, enjoy time with family and friends, or volunteer!”
Chapter 2: Pursue a Yoga Teaching Certification, Travel
Next up, we head to the Sunshine State to meet up with Internal Audit and Financial Advisory Experienced Consultant, Megan, in our Orlando office. A graduate of the University of Florida, Megan has always wanted to pursue her yoga certification to be able to teach, and she had the opportunity to do just that…and overseas!
Cait: How did you spend your time away from Protiviti on sabbatical?
Megan: “I spent one month in Dharamshala, India, pursuing a Yoga Teaching Certification. Yoga has always been an integral part of my life and is the one constant that helps me feel more connected to myself. I wanted to obtain my teaching certification as a way to explore how yoga can benefit me even more, mentally and physically. Additionally, I spent one month backpacking solo around Thailand and Vietnam. I enjoy travelling alone because it gives you a chance to live life without a safety net. You are more open to meeting new people, trying new things, and focusing on your relationship with yourself.”
Cait: Congratulations! I’m sure you learned a lot, but if you had to pick ONE thing that was the greatest thing you learned during sabbatical, what would that be?
Megan: “The greatest thing I learned on my trip was how incredibly compassionate people are at the core. Hatred and anger are something that people learn and develop over time. It is not our natural state of being. I will definitely hold this lesson close to my heart when meeting any new person, whether it be at a client site or in my personal life.”
Cait: We have a lot of people who are interested in doing sabbatical but haven’t applied yet. What is a piece of advice for those people?
Megan: “Taking time off for something that is important to you is never time wasted!”
Chapter 3: Take Part in a Movement Practice Program by Ido Portal
As a former collegiate football player at Air Force and Georgia Tech, an Air Force Veteran, and a current martial artist and movement specialist, Data and Analytics Manager, Mel, is no stranger to athletics. With that knowledge, it should come as no surprise to you that Mel used his sabbatical to further develop his athleticism and interest in movement practice. I caught up with this Atlanta-based Manager to talk about the unique way he used his time away from the corporate world.
Cait: Explain to us a bit about your sabbatical experience!
Mel: “As a lifelong athlete and martial artist, I am obsessed with quality, functional, and athletic movement. There is a grass root ‘movement culture’ growing around the world and there really is a paradigm shift taking place in the way we relate to our body and training practices. I used the sabbatical to immerse in a 12-week online movement practice program, developed by Ido Portal, who is arguably the greatest movement practitioner on the planet. This is an all-out effort to develop as both a student and teacher of movement. It is a bit of an abstract concept, but this video explains a bit more.”
Cait: I feel tired just thinking about this intensive program — what an accomplishment, congrats! I’m always curious about your takeaway from the time you spent away from Protiviti. What is one thing you have learned?
Mel: “I have learned to continuously develop a keen sense of awareness. Training with this greater awareness is translating to greater awareness in all aspects of life… career and personal.”
Cait: What is one piece of advice for those considering doing a sabbatical?
“Most people ask me, “Where did you go for your sabbatical?”. Although using the time to travel in order to learn about different cultures and yourself is certainly a reasonable cause for a sabbatical, I would encourage people to look a bit deeper within to use it for something that is truly meaningful for them. I was fortunate enough to travel to Australia and New Zealand for a few weeks during this sabbatical. However, most of the time was spent in town honing my movement practice so that I can be a better student and teacher of both movement and in life.”
Chapter 4: Study and Take all Parts of the CPA
Meet Christian, Experienced Senior Consultant in Internal Audit and Financial Advisory, from our Metro D.C. office. Christian uniquely used his sabbatical as an opportunity for further self-education, deciding to put forth a full-on effort and dedication to study for, take and pass all parts of his CPA exam.
Cait: You used your sabbatical to study for educational purposes. What made you decide to use the time the way you did?
Christian: “The sabbatical program was an opportunity to focus 100% of my time on sitting for and passing all parts of the CPA exam in one go. Previously, I had taken the less strenuous CFE exam and found that I greatly disliked spending my precious weeknights and weekends studying for this exam. I determined that if I were to take the much more difficult CPA exam, then I would need to do it in a three month “sprint” rather than a multi-year “marathon.” The sabbatical program offered the window I needed in order to finish this sprint.”
Cait: Any takeaways from sabbatical… other than learning a whole lot about the CPA?!
Christian: “Studying every day, all day became increasingly natural over the course of my sabbatical. In the beginning, it was much harder to focus and be productive because I hadn’t adjusted to my new sabbatical life. I still longed for the financial and personal freedoms of work life. However, my discipline and capacity to focus increased over time. Repetition became a way of life, and I was okay with it because it was a state necessary to accomplishing my goal. In short, don’t underestimate your capability to do what’s necessary to accomplish some greater goal. I also learned that exposure and repetition are effective learning methods. The more you see something, the better you will understand it. The more you practice, the better you will be even if it’s a thing that doesn’t come natural for you. This is actually common sense, but sometimes I forget that a lack of skill or knowledge simply comes from not expending the time to acquire the skill or knowledge.”
Cait: Awesome! What about a piece of advice for those looking into the program?
Christian: “Apply for the program first and figure out your finances later.”
Is anyone else feeling super inspired right now?! Wow. It is so incredible to see that our employees are really taking advantage of the sabbatical opportunity to do and learn new, amazing things.
A big thank you to Julian, Megan, Mel and Christian for sharing their personal stories!
Not a Protiviti employee but interested in a career here? Check out our Careers Site for open opportunities.
Are you a Protiviti employee interested in applying for sabbatical? Apply through the Rewards and Recognition section of iShare.