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Combatting Burnout: The Sales Sabbatical

Finding a healthy work-life balance is a hot topic in today’s fast-paced society, but finding it in the sales world is no easy task. When targets and new business acquisitions are on the line, it can be difficult to step back and hit the “pause” button, even for a short while. 

The question begs to be asked, is the elusive work-life balance really a possibility for sales executives whose income is dependent on their ability to reach performance targets? Or is going non-stop the only way to survive? 

Sales Around the Clock

Sales is a round the clock job. The pressures many executives feel don’t subside when they leave the office and can be exacerbated at quarter’s or year’s ends when revenue goals are on the line. These same pressures, though, are leading to more and more cases of workplace burnout—a condition recently recognized as a legitimate medical diagnosis by the World Health Organization.

When sales professionals start to reach this threshold, an ironic thing happens. In their dogged pursuit of reaching their goals, their cognitive and physical functions start to deteriorate. Their productivity suffers, their teams might suffer, and ultimately, their bottom line is put at risk. 

The question being asked, then, should not be if a work-life balance is possible, but rather how it can be achieved in order to avoid personal and professional burnout. 

The Sales Sabbatical

In my work with sales professionals, I have found that the traditional work-life balance isn’t always a possibility for those in high-level positions. There is simply too much on the line at any given moment to be able to truly put work pressures out of mind. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t alternative options to be explored. 

More and more, a number of my clients and friends are taking advantage of two or three month sabbaticals from their high-pressure jobs to regroup, refresh, and recharge. Essentially, rather than taking shorter, more frequent breaks throughout the year, they choose an extended break planned all at once. While this may sound extravagant at first, there are notable advantages to this model:

  • They can remain hyper focused on their goals and targets in the months they are working.
  • The sabbatical periods give both the professional and his or her family a future reward to look forward to for hard work put into the present. 
  • They grant enough time and distance to truly unplug and mentally and physically recharge. 
  • Increased productivity in working months could lead to higher earnings, even in the shorter time frame.

Some of the professionals I know who have tried this approach express it feels somewhat like a mini-retirement period in which they are free to spend time with their loved ones, be present in the moment, and enjoy the things in life that are truly important to them. In some ways, it reflects a more European state of mind that values the mental benefits and sustainability that quality leisure time can provide.  

One of the most pressing concerns my clients have is how they will prepare financially to take this time off. Of course, careful budgeting and professional courtesy will need to be considered: In preparation for your time off, ensure you are: 

  • Leaving the workplace on good terms to ensure you’ll have the opportunity to continue earning income when you return. 
  • Planning far enough in advance to position your time off in between important projects. 
  • Checking to make sure your health or disability insurance will not lapse in your absence, or how long before it would. Be sure to build these risks and possible financial liabilities as incurred costs in your overall financial plan. 

As lavish as this type of break may sound on the surface, it could be just what the sales professional needs to find personal and professional balance.

Interested in learning more about preparing your finances for this type of lifestyle? Meenes Wealth Partners can help. We are familiar with the variable compensation structures sales professionals rely on and can assist you in planning some much deserved time away. Contact us for a complimentary initial conversation today to discuss the possibilities.