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      August 22, 2019

      Why I Decided to Go on a Sabbatical with My Family

      Hi everyone,

      my name is Alexander Hartkens and I have been working for Continental in different function within Human Relations since 2007. Today I am as head of Human Relations responsible for the Technology Center Tires in Hannover Stoecken. My job is done, when all talents are qualified for their job and feel motivated to work for Continental.

      From September 2019 my wife – who also works for Continental – and I will go on a sabbatical and we will travel with our two daughters around-the-world for one year.

      We planned and contracted the sabbatical more than a year ago. The sabbatical is a so-called blocked part-time model and consists of two phases. In the first phase (working phase) I continue to work full-time and receive a part-time salary of 50%. I can then use the overtime hours in the second phase (leisure phase), so that I no longer need to work, but still receive 50% part-time salary. The big advantage of this model comparing to unpaid leave is that it does not create a “gap” in social security funds (such as pensions or health insurance) and I am further assured of it.

      If friends ask us why we do a sabbatical, it’s not so easy for us to answer. We are a very happy family, we have two great kids, live in a small house and have great neighbours and friends! I am passionate about my job and I am always enthusiastic about how versatile the job is. We could also happily live our everyday life in the coming years …

      But there is still something that concerns us. Somehow there is an urge in us to do something completely different, break out of everyday life and leave the comfort zone. Then there arises the question of whether our lived everyday life should continue for the next ten years. How can I spend more time with my children? Does the present fully satisfy us? From my study abroad, I know how intense a time can be in a foreign environment and that one remembers many moments, no matter if big challenges or nice memories for a long time.

      Continental’s sabbatical program offers us a great opportunity to relive those moments. Together with the family we can spend a lot of time together on our journey, going out of the ordinary into something unknown, unplanned and uncertain.

      We want to get involved in the places we will visit and the people we will meet. So, the journey should write its own history, which we will remember for a lifetime.

      We exchange imagination with experiences and will see ourselves and the world more intensively!

      Join us on our tour and get to know, what challenges and experiences we face during this very special period in our life. 

      Alexander Hartkens


      This article was written by our employee.


      Head of Human Relations for the Technology Center Tires in Hanover Stoecken