The Case for A Career Sabbatical: Stefan Sagmeister’s TED Talk

I highly recommend this TED Talk from Stefan Sagmeister. A four-time TED speaker, Sagmeister is a graphic designer with an impressive portfolio and an even more curious professional habit: every seven years, he closes down his entire business for the whole year.

This TED Talk details the “Power of Time Off” for him and his creative work:

Some highlights from Sagmeister’s talk:

  • 1:26 He does the math on the three stages of life – learning, working and retirement – and proposes a new equation.
  • 8:22 His first attempt at a sabbatical started off rather sloppy, but he course-corrected quickly and shares his plan.
  • 13:35 Banana art. Don’t ask, just watch.

This TED Talk resonated with me because I’ve taken a sabbatical and loved it.

In 2008, I needed something of a break, something of a career re-direction and something with forward movement. I took about 10 months off, decompressed, got into the best physical shape of my life, started my consulting practice, rode the wave that’s become digital marketing, and eventually landed a new job in a new field.

It was an incredibly rewarding experience and I fully endorse the idea of a career sabbatical or, as Tim Ferriss calls them, mini-retirements. Sagmeister’s TED Talk speaks well to the professional, business and creative benefits of sabbaticals as well.

Have you ever taken a career sabbatical?

How did it work out?


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