I recently took a sabbatical from contract mobile application development. I had been doing it for 2.5 years straight, and although I can't argue with the pay and schedule (fully remote, over $100K/yr), I did eventually feel like I wasn't learning much on the job and that I needed to do something kinda risky to go somewhere new in my career.
Also, on a more practical note, when you're spending 40 hours a week prodding object oriented frameworks (or worse, React Native) and hoping they'll do what you want them to, that doesn't leave a lot of time for trying new things, learning, and growing. So it's pretty easy to get pigeonholed as "the mobile guy" and then basically stagnate until retirement.
Now that I have planted that somewhat dark thought in your mind, I would like to humbly ask if anyone here has tried taking a sabbatical from paid work.
If so, how long did it last? What was your goal? Did you start and finish a project during your time off, or did you simply take time away to "study up" on something different and new?
Did it work? When you came back to the workforce, did you do so in a capacity where you could work on projects you're passionate about, using techniques you actually support (instead of saying you do to get past a job interview)?
My plan is to try and work half the year for someone else, half the year for myself. I think if I can time some of these contracts to start in July and end the following July, I'll have two years with income below the Roth IRA yearly income threshold (~$110K/yr). Then if I can consistently save and invest half of my income, I'll gradually slide into a position of never having to contract again, or perhaps have a project of mine gain enough momentum to replace the income of full-time contracting.
But I am actually hoping others have tried a better strategy than mine. After all, it seems kinda extreme that I have to periodically end contracts early, or that I literally have to retire just to put enough work into projects I actually care about. Maybe that's just how the work world is, but I suspect there's something I'm missing. I do know some people who have fulfilling careers, and they haven't had to do anything as drastic as what I'm doing.