A career breaks could involve taking anything from a few weeks off to a year or more. For some a career break is a welcome respite – they need the time to attend to other matters such as to care for a child or look after an elderly relative. For others it’s about taking time out to deal with their own health or personal issues. Some employees opt for a career break to pursue a new venture of their own, to travel, to immerse themselves in a new hobby or to simply take some time to really think about what they want to do with their life going forward.
There are numerous reasons for taking a step away from your career, and to some it no doubt seems like a crazy idea, but could transform your life? A career break is certainly not for the faint hearted, but if you’re willing to trust in yourself maybe it’s the perfect way to boost your career and your personal life. If you’re tempted to take a break here are a few things you might want to think about:
Do You Want to Hit Pause or Reboot?
Before you take that break give yourself a moment to sanity check your decision. Do you want to pause you career? Or do you want to see if you can make a few changes to improve things? You can request a meeting with your manager and enquire about the possibility of flexible working or a short sabbatical (to provide you with the space you need). Perhaps you could explore internal vacancies and ask about a move to a position that might better suit your ideals. Explore your options before you jump out!
Stay in the Know
If you’re taking time out and plan on returning to your industry or are thinking about doing something similar in the future it’s a good idea to stay in touch with your network. Keep in touch with colleagues and suggest the odd coffee or lunch – stay in the loop of you can!
It’s also critical to stay abreast of changes in your field. Read trade papers, follow the news and keep up to date with developments via relative websites. Follow key players in your industry and find out what they are planning going forward.
You Can Create Your Own Workplace Culture
If you choose to take a career break to pursue a new venture you will need to put in the work to make a success of things. Part of this involves identifying your working methods – what brings out the best in you? Do you thrive early in the mornings when you feel fresh? Do you work best when you’ve been for a mid-morning run and you’ve blown away the cobwebs?
Perhaps you need to work from a shared office space once or twice a week as you crave social interaction and need the hubbub of a busy working environment to give you a boost. If you’re going to start your own business or explore new avenues you might as well do it on your terms – taking a career break gives you time to think about how you want to work going forward.
Maintain a Digital Presence
Maintain your online network as well as your real-life relationships. It’s a good idea to remain active on certain social media accounts. Even if you’re taking a break from your role you can still comment of relevant topics that you’re interested in. Post comments and add your own posts to keep content fresh.
Try not to get too zealous in your posting – you might have a little more time on you hands but no-one wants to now about the yummy avocado on toast you wolfed down for breakfast! Focus on building your personal brand, so if and when you’re ready to return to work you have a robust profile to share with potential employers etc.
Consider your Exit Strategy
If you’re handing in your notice to take a full-on career break make sure you leave on good terms (a glowing reference may come in handy at some point). Think about what you want going forward – do you see yourself taking a break for weeks, months or a year (or even more)?
Consider you Re-Entry Strategy
If you’re planning a career relaunch you should work out what it is you want to do – it sounds obvious, but it’s easy to panic after a career break and dive back into familiar territory, or just take a role because it’s available.
Resolve to go through the process, before you make a decision. Ask yourself:
· How much time do I want to devote to my career?
· What can I see myself doing career wise?
· How much do I need to earn to live the life I enjoy?
If you’re returning after a long break or fancy a complete change of direction you might need to look at compromising on one of the above.
Ready to Take a Career Break?
Yes, its nerve wracking, but if you don’t take the time away that you need you might regret it down the line. You might step away and find you miss your job to such an extent that you return to it with renewed vigour and become hugely successful. Or you could decide it’s time to move on and try something completely new. The world is full of opportunities, so take your time and choose the option that will give your life and career the welcome boost it needs.