Need a break from work? You may be able to take a sabbatical.

Not long ago, leaving a solid, stable career to go traveling might have seemed like career suicide. But that mind-set is rapidly changing, thanks to a recession that left a lot of workers feeling burnt out. So North Americans are starting to catch onto the idea of work sabbaticals. Kind of like what teachers sometimes do.

Tara Russell is a sabbatical coach based in San Francisco. And she says the British, Europeans, and Australians have been taking established breaks built into their careers for a long time. Americans are only just now are starting to think that there may be a legitimate need for time away.

So can you take a sabbatical? You may simply have to ask. Employers across a broad range of industries, from media to marketing and medicine, are granting - and even encouraging — sabbaticals.

These are breaks of anywhere from four weeks to six months which are used to volunteer, pursue education, or just for personal growth.

And this year, twenty-one of Fortune 500’s Best Places to Work offer fully paid sabbatical leave, a bigger percentage than ever before.