Well, that was the easy part. Thanks, bosses, for your support!
When I told them about my plans, well ahead before leaving, they signed up for it pretty fast.
I worked for the European Union in Brussels, in a Committee that deals with contacts with civil society organizations and NGOs, giving them a forum to voice their concerns. I was working specifically on the European Citizens’ Initiative.
We have a possibility to take unpaid leave. They put everything on hold, your pay, pension scheme, etc. I could keep paying for my health insurance, though.
The job is gone if you’re out for more than six months, and Human Resources offers you a new one when you come back. You can refuse one offer, and hope the second is better… after that, you’re out for good.
As HR encourages mobility in general, and doesn’t want people to sit at the same desk for decades, there’s always a fair amount of new jobs coming along.
I know I’m lucky, and thankful, to be able to do this. And I know a lot of companies would never ever dream of doing this.
But if you get this possibility, you just simply have to do it!