How to get the time to do your course

Getting the time to train, learn and grow

When you’ve decided that dog grooming is for you, one of the obstacles that you might think about is having enough time to get the qualification. If you’re still looking to be employed and do the course at the same time, it can take a lot of dedication and can stretch yourself thinly. There are alternatives though. Using some of your own holiday will help you out a lot, but most companies will not allow holidays for more than two weeks in length at a time, which is why asking for a sabbatical might just be for you!!!

A sabbatical can sometimes be called a ‘career break’ or an ‘adult gap year’. It actually comes from the term Sabbath, which means to take the seventh day out (still trying to convince my boss I need that). If you’re serious about doing something you love and still want to maintain your current job, here are ten steps to hopefully making that happen.

1. Build your case

Do your research. Look in your Employee Handbook to see if there’s a sabbatical/leave program or talk to your union or HR to see if they can shed any light on the situation.

In addition, map out the details.  Have a solid timeframe in mind for when you want the sabbatical to start and for how long it will be.  Reducing the amount of friction that you might cause within your company’s schedule will do you big favours.

For example, if you tell your manager you want to take a sabbatical but do not know for how long, he or she may just say you are only allowed to take two weeks off.  However, if you go into your discussions saying that you want to take 3 months off, he or she will be more likely to grant you this extended time (or at least a lot more than if you just let them choose).

Learning and planning as much as you can upfront will help you construct your cause and set you up for success.

2. Plan way in advance!

Asking for a sabbatical is not the same as quitting your job, so a few weeks notice will never ever work.

If you decide to notify work way in advance, be sure to emphasise to your boss and HR that you want to be proactive in order to create a win/win situation for both parties and to leave as little to do whilst you are gone – they will love this!

3. Know whom to consult first

Every organization operates in a different hierarchical manner.  Knowing whom to consult on sabbaticals can help set you up for success.

For example, I read an article for a female who worked for a small firm where rumors spread like wildfire and secrets are nonexistent.  Knowing this about her company, she thought it would be wise to reach out to her boss about her intentions prior to HR. The thought of your boss finding out as ‘second-hand information’ would not only make the process very difficult but you make find the atmosphere in your current place a lot more uncomfortable.

4. Schedule a meeting

Etiquette and respect matter! Get some time booked on the calendar to sit down and discuss the sabbatical with your employer.

5. Prepare anyone directly involved in the meeting

When you schedule time to meet with your boss to discuss taking a sabbatical, make sure you inform them on the topic of your meeting.  The discussion will more than likely be counterproductive if the sabbatical topic gets brought up for the first time five minutes into the meeting.

6. Start the meeting off on a high note... and do a little crawling

Make it about them. Start the conversation off by saying that you truly enjoy being an employee for such an esteemed and people-centric company.  If the company knows how happy you are in your job, they will more than likely try and keep you happy and worry less about replacing you.

7. Get the 'whys' out on the table

Now that you have made your manager feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside, start breaking down your rationale for wanting to take a sabbatical/leave:  Why is it important to you?  What do you hope to get out of it?  Why is now a better time than ever to improve yourself?

If you have a good relationship with your management, they will hopefully want to help out!

8. Tell the company how it benefits them

If a manager has a clear idea of how it will benefit them and also how it will benefit them before and after you leave, this can help your case.

You need to tie your request back into your career growth and discuss how your time off will benefit you BOTH on a personal and professional level.

They also do not have to pay you for your time off, thus saving money.  What CFO doesn’t like that arrangement?

9. Be flexible with your employer's requests

Even if you are dead set on your plans for taking the sabbatical (and the reasoning’s behind them) your manager will appreciate if you ask for his or her feedback.  This shows that you value their opinion.  Some questions to ask are as follows:

  • How can I make this work for you?
  • Do you have any concerns?
  • What are some next steps that I need to take to prepare for this leave?

10. Get ahead of your work... I mean really ahead

Making sure that you are ahead of your goals, putting in more time and making yourself appear a more indispensable member of the team might seem like a backwards way of getting time off but it will also show the business that you are worth keeping. If you are adamant that you want the time off, finding someone of your skills and work ethic would be a greater inconvenience to them than waiting for your time off.

The last consideration for all of this is “Is it worth just taking the plunge and doing something you love full time?”

Committing to a new career is exciting and can mean the difference between jumping through these hoops or just jumping out of bed in the morning, excited for your day.

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