I’ve been thinking a lot about the notion of “the career break” recently after taking three weeks annual leave, a distinct increase on my usual one week break which I have been taking sporadically in an effort to avoid burn out. The truth is, that one week always ends up just being two days, so really its a long weekend. Pathetic huh?
Faced with the opportunity to take a proper old fashioned, no phone type of holiday – remember those – I snapped it up, and spent three weeks relaxing at my parents house in the country, catching up on sleep, the news, and working on ‘myself’. Personal Development is something i’m deeply passionate about and its exciting for me to create the space and time to think about, well, myself mostly. Whilst sipping on green smoothies. Yum.
It’s a tempting thought huh? To take some much needed time out. To literally do, whatever it is that you want. To do nothing, if that’s what you need. Or to do a lot of what you rarely ever find the time to do (which could also be nothing).
We work so hard.
We put in so many hours.
We give give give give.
We’re so dedicated, and we strive to reach our milestones without ever stopping to think about our proper goals and dream, or to take a genuine departure from thinking about everything altogether! It can seem a bit indulgent can’t it? Almost a bit unnecessary, or a bit frivolous. I can hear some of you thinking, what would I do with all that time to myself? With nothing to think about?
But believe me, you will find something to do. Even if it’s just to sit and stare out the window. You will find yourself enjoying that because you’ll get to the place where your mind isn’t racing full of the things you need to be doing. And the sound of the birds will charm you.
Some of us are lucky to have a sabbatical written into our work contracts. I used to work for a marketing agency in London and every 4 years employees could take 3 months of unpaid holiday for a career break; encouraged to travel, spend time with family, volunteer or do a training course.
I’ve never made it to working for any organisation for 4 consecutive years myself so haven’t experienced a formal sabbatical process, but in between contracts or jobs I would often take a few weeks leave to travel or rest – marking the end of one chapter and the start of another.
A lot of the time though I just fantasised about a career break. You know, taking a proper three months or six months departure from everything you know. Two weeks never quite seemed long enough. But I let those old negative beliefs dominate my headspaces, telling me that I couldn’t afford to take the time out, that I wouldn’t enjoy it even if I did, or I let the voices convince me that I didn’t need the time off. And sometimes i’d believe them. After all, work can be a truly seductive distraction can’t it.
We often hear from many people who feel trapped in their jobs who are considering a sabbatical or self-induced career break, and I have met people who would love to take time off but wouldn’t even know where to start with figuring out what to do.
So I created these 5 Easy Questions That Could Change Your Life for aspiring Career Breakers or people who have just made the decision to go for it.
My promise to you, should you fill this out (will take 2 mins of your life!) will be that i’ll get back to you personally with my Top 20 Tips For What to Do On A Career Break, appealing to anyone who has a passion for adventure and a yearning to do something different and make a positive impact in the world.
Good luck and go for it!