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Re: hi! (finding time to hike)

Hi all,

I thought I'd toss in my $0.02 on the 'hike or work' question since I
have been able to make it all work out.  I was (am still) working for
an aerospace firm, and decided to take a leave of absence and go back
to school to get my phd.  i.e.) an educational leave of absence.  When
I requested the leave, I made sure I had enough time to thru hike the
trail when I finish with school.  Maybe those of you who are fed up
with the corporate scene (as I was) and are considering going back to
school.  This option allowed me to still have a job waiting, if I want
it, and yet do the things I wanted to do -- go to school and have a
nice long hike afterward.

Personal note:  I'm not trying to 'toot my own horn' here.  It sounds
like there are a few folks out there that are in a similar position as
me, so I thought I'd share how I was able to work things out.  Here
goes...  My educational leave is unpaid, so the company isn't footing
the bill.  This gave me more flexibility when I was putting together my
'leave-pitch' to sell to the management.  But it also meant I'd have to
subsist on research/teaching assistant pay while at school.  The way my
company's leave policy works is that I am not guaranteed a position
when I finish, but they will try to place me somewhere in the
corporation.  If they cannot, at that time I'll get a 'lay-off' with
severance, etc.  If I want to come back and they are able to place me
then I go back and they'll pay for my educational expenses.  If I don't
want to go back, I'm not 'bound' to since they aren't paying for
anything right now.  When I applied for the leave, I didn't
specifically *tell* them I was taking another 4-6 months to hike the
trail, but I did make some noises about 'traveling' after finishing my
degree and before coming back.  (Of course the aerospace industry being
what it is/isn't I think they were just happy to have someone off the
payroll for a while, and didn't ask too many questions!  ;)  Also, this
'plan' of mine wasn't able to be executed on a moments notice.  It took
a year or two to get myself set up financially to go back to research
assistant pay.

Jeff, this may option not be much help to you, but I think others have
covered the pros/cons pretty well.  It's up to you.  It's your decision
and you have to do what's best for you.  But if you do decide to 'get a
job', there are always options available to you at a later time.

As for everyone else, this leave option was the right choice for me. 
You might want to check your company's leave policies, personal,
educational or otherwise.  Not that I'm wishing the rigors of grad
school on anyone, but if you're thinking about getting more education
for your job, it is a definite possibility.  Works for me!