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Sabbatical: Your opinion on this.

The motivation for this thought: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000076.html

I will be graduating in May ’03 and am looking for employment in the US (I am currently studying in the US ). If I don’t find any by May, I am going back to India (I have an open offer with a Startup to work for them in India).

What I want to do before I start working is travel to different parts of India for some time, see what impact technolgy has/ hasn't had there, etc.

Your opinion on this. While you are at it, if you know any interesting villages/ places/ routes in India – feel free to chip in.

Thanks.

Prakash S
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

hey, you can't call it a "sabbatical" if you haven't yet worked. ;-)

Anyway, yes...this sounds fun. By all means, do it (unless you have to feed your kids or pay back your bookie, or something requiring immediate income).

Be sure make a photo-laden web site about your tour for the rest of us schlubs stuck behind desks, reduced to thinking about the impact technology has made upon our waistlines.

DeskJockey
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Don't forget to bring either a good "proper" camera or a high-res digicam with you. You'll want to take loads of pictures on such a trip...

Lennart Fridén
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Have you been sending out resumes/interviewing now?

What's been the response been like (for recent grads)?  I hear the "horror stories", but am curious to the opinion of someone going through it right now.

Anyhoo,
I graduated Mid-December 1998 (I had worked as a Co-Op for 6 months, thus pushing my graduation to the end of the Fall semester as opposed to the end of a Spring semester).

I didn't start applying for work until the end of May/ beginning of June 1999.  So, I took about 6 months off (with a trip to Disney World in May...M-I-C...K-E-Y...M-O-U-S-E!).

I played around with C++ Builder during that time, slept in, mooched off my girlfiend, was lazy, did nothing at times, hung out, celebrated a Men's collegiate basketball championship (UCONN Huskies! Woo-hoo!) in March with 1000's at the campus, watched a lot of movies.  It was great!  I highly recommend it.

Of course, I had no student loans (thank you National Guard for your tuition waiver!!), no car payments, no debt!  So, if you can finanically afford to do it.  I say do it!

William C
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

One thing to add ...

remember now, it was 98/99 when I did this.  All a recent grad at UCONN had to do was put their resume out and 4,5,6 companies would be interested (I send out 10 resumes, interviewed at 3, and got 3 offers).

So, I wasn't too worried about finding a job because I knew I was guaranteed to get one.

That's also where my "how's the job market?" question comes into play.  If you have put your resume on display at 10-20 different companies and you are barely getting a peep...well...I might be inclined to take any offer I can get (instead of putting them on hold to tell them you want to go on sabbatical).

William C
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

I say go on your trip now, even if the job market sucks. There are always jobs available, there just aren't always good jobs available.  I worked for about 3 years, then went on sabbatical, I should have done it sooner. Hell, in retrospect, I should have just dispensed with the whole "work" part , and stayed on "sabbatical" permanently. 

JustDoIt
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

DeskJockey is killing me.

I tend to agree that you should take time off if you can afford it. I took about six weeks off between graduation and starting work, and even tho it wasn't much for the next 1-2 years I was saying that was the best six weeks of my life. I interviewed and travelled a bit, spent long overdue time w/ my girlfriend at the time (now fionce), etc. It was great and I even though I had debt my parents were generous enough to let me stay with them until I got on my feet w/ a job, car and apartment (hahaha like they had a choice:)

However, I'll just throw out an alternative thing for you to think about: Compound interest. Earning and saving when you are young, like fresh out of school, will have another extra year of compounding. That's a 6-12 mos of saving when you don't have huge expenses like kids, etc. Do the math and see what that means for your retirement. One year up front could equal five years earlier retirement.  I don't know.. I'm just throwing out numbers.

Like I said, I tend to agree that taking time off is good if not necessary.

dmooney
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

I didn't take one and now I am hoping to live to 60 (kids educated, etc) 20 years from now so I can finally bike across Canada...Waaaah

Do it Man!  DO IT!

Brad Siemens
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

If you're back in India, take time off to pop down to Srii Lanka; more laid back than India and with a lot of variety in a small distance. If you're doing the trip between mid-June and mid-August email me and I;ll arrange to show you around.

If I've got the name right, one place to see in India is Karajavo; it has a set of Hindu temples with world famous erotic religous art (proof that a horse is a man's best friend). It is also quite idyllically rural and within travelling distance of some national parks and tiger sanctuaries. It's in the middle of nowhere so you would do best to lash out and catch the tourist plane which does the Dehli, Agra, Karajavo, Varanasi, Dehli round trip. You'll have enough time to sample the joys of Indian road and rail travel during the rest of your trip.

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

I'm 42 and pretty well have worked my guts out as a contractor for the last 20 years, in constant employment.

I'm unemployed as off last month, and I couldn't care less.

I'm coming to U.S.A (with my wife) for a month holiday in December  taking in San Francisco, New Orleans and New York with a bit of unplanned time to doodle bug around doing whatever.

So, I sort of agree with dmooney, get a job, work, invest the money and travel on your paid holidays (that's a luxury I've never had). Either way a job will be a new experience for you (I'm assuming?) so it should be fun anyway.

Alberto
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

DeskJockey:

“unless you have to feed your kids or pay back your bookie, or something requiring immediate income”

I don’t have feed kids, the only thing I have to feed is my face:-)

Prakash S
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

William C:

“Have you been sending out resumes/interviewing now?

What's been the response been like (for recent grads)?  I hear the "horror stories", but am curious to the opinion of someone going through it right now.”

I had (still have) a very systematic approach and a brilliant strategy in identifying companies, and sending my resume to real people  (as assumed to sending emails to some email address). I targeted companies that I would like to work with, in consulting, software, technology, etc. for various positions like Program Manager, Software Engineer, Product Manager, Associate consultant, analyst, etc and sent e-mails to all the top-honchos in that company.  I have been spending about 4-7 hours everyday from September until today doing this.

Most of them responded, forwarded my resume to the HR department. And there it stopped. I have received more than 100 letters/ emails telling me “we are not hiring currently… ”  ,  “we do not sponsor H1’s ”  (I am an International student and am here on a visa – I don’t want to start another H1 war here) or “your qualifications do not match our positions”

-It’s a horror story currently.

“...I might be inclined to take any offer I can get (instead of putting them on hold to tell them you want to go on sabbatical).”

- I have had this open offer from a startup for the past 1.5 years, so  I can go join them anytime.

Prakash S
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

dmooney:

Would 1 year really make that kind of difference? I know it does make a difference, but that much?

Prakash S
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Food is good, but eating is cheap in most of the world. I live the life of a stupid bachelor (eating out all the time, tring to woo women in pubs, wasting money on stupid pursuits) and still manage to save about 1/2 my income every year.  At the rates right now (uh, especially in INDIA), I doubt 6 months of employment is going to compound enough for you to wish you hadn't taken some time off, when you get to be 42.

Then again, Alberto has a point. You can be a total workaholic for 20 years, save and invest wisely, and when you are 42, a layoff won't affect you financially, and maybe you can retire early. However I tend to doubt 6 months when  you are 22 or whatever will affect that plan much.

DeskJockey
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Stephen :

I have lived in India for 15 years, specifically in Bombay (now Mumbai), Bangalore, Chennai (previously Madras) and other places, but I have never *seen* it. I would love to go to Khajuraho, one of the places to visit in my list. I want to cover all parts of India, I know a couple of south Indian languages, and more than three north Indian languages so communication is not going to be a problem.

I have not been to Sri Lanka though! I have been to rather lived in Dubai, UAE for 3 years, and have visited Oman, Bahrain, but never Saudi (have no intentions to visit Saudi  - not if they pay me a million bucks :-))


If I am taking this Sabbatical, I will send you an email.

Prakash S
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Alberto:

Yeah, a job would be a new experience : -), I have done a few internships but I don’t think they would count.

Enjoy your holiday!

Prakash S
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Prakash,

Another fun idea would be to try out a biking tour of India. Just rent yourself a 500cc Royal Enfield motorcycle and motor down the West coast. Start off from the Konkan coast in Maharashtra. There are some wonderful idyllic beahes there. Stop over at Goa for a few days and continue down South to Kerala.  Stop whenever you feel like stopping. A vacation is that much more rewarding if you don't intend to reach anywhere.

RN
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

RN:

That reminds me, my dad did that 30 years back, from Rourkela in Orissa to Madras in Tamil Nadu on a Yezdi (http://www.yezdi.com/) . He also broke his leg, but that is a different story.

The number of times I have heard that story...... :-)

Prakash S
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

I have wondered what happenned to JAWA's now I know!

I would'nt mind doing that trip myself, would it safe for a fair skinned westener to do it? Excuse my ignorance, I've never been to India.

Alberto
Thursday, November 21, 2002

Alberto:

"would it safe for a fair skinned westerner to do it? Excuse my ignorance, I've never been to India"

It is a million time safer than Newark, NJ :-) (couldn't resist that)

India is a really safe place for a "fair skinned westerner" to travel on his own, you will find people who are very hospitable, nice and social.

Did u here of this "fair skinned westerner" Bill Gates (http://www.rediff.com/money/gates.htm), he was in India a while back. Of course, he missed visiting all the good places.

Prakash S
Thursday, November 21, 2002

Alberto:

Links to interest you

http://www.travelovista.com/frames.asp?http&&&www.travelovista.com/guides/bt-whyindia.asp

http://www.tourisminindia.com/

Prakash S
Thursday, November 21, 2002

I took a CZ 125 all around the North of Scotland  25 + years ago. Jawas handled a lost worst but were still much much better in every way than anything else you could get at the price. I saw a lot in Egypt, but didn't notice them in India.

Still it's nice to know that India is doiing its best to complete in the global warming industry, despite severe economic handicaps.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, November 21, 2002

Stephen:

"Still it's nice to know that India is doing its best to complete in the global warming industry, despite severe economic handicaps."

- All motor vehicles adhere to Euro emission standards, and all motorbikes are 4 stroke vehicles, no more 2 stroke vehicles.

Prakash S
Thursday, November 21, 2002

The Jawa was a two-stroke. I presumed from the link you gave to the website that they were still for sale. As they don't give prices and the latest national motorbike production figures were for 1998, then I suppose they must no longer be for sale.

So even tuk-tuks are now four-stroke? Explains the high cost (in Sri Lanka round about $2000). Mind you as thirty or forty year old vehicles are common, it'll be a long time before the anti-pollution stuff filters through.

Stephen Jones
Thursday, November 21, 2002

yeah 2 stroke engines are still around, but in another 10 years they won't.

Prakash S
Thursday, November 21, 2002

This might be interesting.

I did some calculations (good old excel), and arrived at the magical figure of 1 year as compared to 5 years. This answers the question, "How long it would take me to repay my student loans if I stayed in US or in India".

I consider only how much I could save.

Looks like I am going for that Sabbatical!

Prakash S
Thursday, November 21, 2002

"San Francisco, New Orleans and New York"

You should stop by Boston. We have lots of nice things, like a multi-billion dollar hole in the ground, right in the middle of the city.  It is lovely. Come… Please... Join us...

Teddy K.
Thursday, November 21, 2002

Prakash:

I'm sure just how much of a difference it would make. There are about 10 variables that only you can possibly, maybe know which factor in. Perhaps the biggest of which is expected retirement age. If you expect to retire at 30 then little chance it will have a five year impact. If you expect to retire at 70 then maybe yeah, you could have retired at 65 if you started saving at 22 instead of 23.

dmooney
Thursday, November 21, 2002

Prakash, I hope no offence was taken by the "white skinned westener" remark, it's just that I travelled around Kenya and Angola about 5 years ago, and I've gotta be honest the white skin was a magnet for trouble, especially in the more remote places. White Skin + Westener = Rich in the eyes of many cultures, and we were robbed and threatened with guns and machetes on about 4 occassions on a two month trip. So, while I'll still continue to do these things, I do like to know the lay of the land before I travel.
Eventually we ended up arming ourselves!
Good to know that India isn't like that.

Teddy - What's the hole in the ground you speak of?

Alberto
Thursday, November 21, 2002

the hole is the "Big Dig." one of the nation's greatest public works disasters. I think it has been going on for 30 years? Or at least 20...

BeanPlant
Thursday, November 21, 2002

What is the "big dig" meant to be eventually?

Alberto
Thursday, November 21, 2002

The Big Dig is "Central Artery/Tunnel Project" in Boston - basically revamping the freeway system (which is way understating the project).

Its website is at http://www.bigdig.com/

jeff
Thursday, November 21, 2002

Dmooney, how does your spreadsheet handle your compound interest when you get divorced at 37?  Trust me, you will NEVER retire, not in this country.  Take the time off up front.  Eat desert first, you are guaranteed to NOT get what you expect otherwise.  Take what you can get.  Big reason I left IT for good.  You'll never get the time back, and you're certain to get fucked out of any money you save anyways
Good luck.,

Bella
Thursday, November 21, 2002

Alberto:

No offence taken, I have heard crazy stories from nigeria, zambia, etc. Better safe than sorry. :-)

Prakash S
Thursday, November 21, 2002

Bella:

What do you do now, what kind of work, if you do not mind my asking?

Are you on a vacation:-)

Prakash S
Thursday, November 21, 2002

Prakash,

do all the things you want to do now ... if you can afford it. The biggest difference between "now" and "later" is time. Due to responibilities you will accumulate in your life, the only constant will be the gradual erosion of your  "free" time.

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, November 22, 2002

Big Dig:
Imagine this for a concept, take an entire inner-city freeway system and put it underground. Now imagine that it actually gets funding. And now (be surprised) imagine that it costs a bit more than originally expected… Well, how about 4 times more, give or take a few billion?

One congressman from Massachusetts was quoted as saying “The whole concept is stupid. It would be easier to raise the city over the freeway than to put the freeway under the city.” I think he might be right.

Someone should have kicked Michel Dukakis about 30 seconds after he though this was a good idea.

Marc
Friday, November 22, 2002

Prakash,

I wanted to take a long vacation (trip in South America) just afer graduating. Couldn't do it as I got an interesting offer to work in the States. Then years later when I came back to France, my wife and I decided to take the long way home -- 3 months -- thru Oceania and Asia: Tahiti, Australia (Sydney, Great barrier reef...), Vietnam, Thailand

It was possible because we had no kids. It didn't cost much (mostly the air fare). Only regret, it was too short!

We want to do it now, but not easy now we have kids.

Remember: Life is short and you live only once!

Take a sabbatical NOW and tour the world. You'll come back wisier.

(And as everyone ask you: create a weblog with pictures of your trip)

Robert Chevallier
Friday, November 22, 2002

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