Taking a career break because you’re finally taking a shot at building that business you’ve always wanted to? Found out you’re pregnant and will be going on maternity leave? Or, want to take a break from your current job and look for something that’s more rewarding than your existing one?
A break can be driven by choice, because the situation warrants it, or even because you’re in an exploratory mode in your career. At times, you may also have to think about taking a career break due to family reasons or may require a career break for mental health or for some other personal reasons. Whatever the case may be, it needn’t be a scary thing. Nowadays, companies are more open to letting their employees take a sabbatical or even switch gears in their roles, as compared to earlier. There are multiple ways in which you can take a successful break, and ensure that by the end of it, you come back stronger and wiser than before.
3 Things To Consider Before Taking A Career Break
Wondering when to take a career break? Here are the possible instances that may indicate that it’s time for you to take a break from your career.
1. Reason For Going On Break
This is particularly important if you’re taking a break on your own will. Are you taking a break because you feel burned out at work, and could really use the time for rejuvenation? Or because your current job leaves you with no time to hunt for a new one. Or because you want to pursue an activity like travel—something you’ve always wanted to do. Whatever may be the reason, make sure this decision is not an impulsive one. Many people take a break and regret it later because they second-guess their decision.
2. When Is Your Break Going To End?
Remember it’s a break, not the end! Have a clear idea of how long you’re going to be on a break and commit yourself to that deadline. Work towards making a comeback when your break term is nearing its end.
3. Finances During The Break
In some cases, breaks could also mean that there are periods when you’re not paid. Be clear and plan beforehand how you’re going to manage your finances during this period. This is important to ensure you’re not forced to cut your break short and return to work earlier than you planned, only because your financial situation doesn’t allow you to stay on break.
Now that you have made the decision to take some time off, to figure things out, the next big question that arises is- How do you make the most of your break? Here are some easy ways to ensure that by the time you reach the end of your break, you realise that the time you took off from work has been a successful time period for you.
How Do You Make The Most Of Your Career Break?
1. Have A Routine
At work, you build a routine that over time falls into place. When you’re on break, it becomes very easy to fall out of routine. Make sure you stick to a routine and include the things that are important to you or things you had planned to do during the break.
In today’s times, there are so many different things one can do to stay updated. Online educational courses, certifications, masterclasses, workshops, and even YouTube tutorials! Sign up for a course on a subject you’ve always wanted to learn more about – data science, product management or Photoshop, for instance. Or a skill you’ve always thought you could get better at – Powerpoint presentations or Excel for example. Or sometimes, even a fun class on a hobby like baking, photography or blogging. Learning can not only help you build a stronger resume but also keep the mind stimulated.
3. Invest In Physical And Mental Health
Most working professionals often complain that long workdays mean not enough time to indulge in activities that are important for the mind, body and soul – like working out, meditation and self-care. A break is a great opportunity for you to take up activities that will ensure that you’re in better shape physically and mentally. As we all know, health & fitness is important in professional life too – it helps with better concentration, alertness and focus. If you’ve always wanted to be part of the 5 am club, perhaps this is your chance!
4. Stay In Touch With Your Work-Life
Just because you’re on a break doesn’t mean you should disconnect yourself from what’s happening in your field, or your professional network. In fact, now that you probably have more time at hand, use it to keep yourself updated on developments in your industry. Make LinkedIn your best friend, and also keep having regular conversations with your professional network. Stay in touch with your former colleagues and work friends. Not only is this useful for keeping your network strong but it’ll also be very useful when you’re coming back to the workforce after a break.
5. Take Up Part-Time Work
If your break is driven by a personal situation, or if you realise that even during your break you have some time to spare, you could consider taking up part-time opportunities – consulting, content writing, and graphic designing are just a few examples. This will ensure that you’re not completely out of the workforce. It will also help you financially—you may not have to break the bank to support yourself.
6. Enjoy Your Break
Now that you’re on a break, you might as well enjoy it, without feeling guilty! Spend time with your friends and family, get some more beauty sleep, reconnect with your childhood hobby – do that one (or more!) thing that’s always been important to you, but you haven’t been able to find time for. A happier version of you, when you return to work, will only ensure stronger performance when you get back to work.
That’s an easy option, isn’t it? It may sound cliche to some but, for others, this may just be what they would like to do on a break. After all, what better way to relax and rejuvenate while travelling to your heart’s content? Select places of your choice, pick up your bag and just get going without anyone to stop you.
8. Pick Up A Hobby
Go, learn that hobby that you might be hankering for, for ages. Pursue that passion that your parents didn’t allow you to learn while growing up, or that hobby that you had to discontinue because of higher studies. Or, that new hobby that you’ve taken a liking to. That feeling of fulfilment will be unparalleled, we bet.
9. Pick Up A New Language
Learn a new language that you fancy. It will enrich you as a global citizen. Just taking a language class may not help you much unless you get the scope to practise speaking the language. Try making native friends, or watching movies in that language to learn its accent perfectly. What’s more, if you can make it to the land of its origin, nothing like it. Make new friends, read the hoardings and roadside banners, or pick up a part-time job. Sounds like a plan, right?
10. Get A New Perspective
If you are a little lost with where you’re headed in your professional life, a break from your career is likely to be very helpful in giving you clarity of thought. Spend the free hours having a mindful conversation with yourself and ask what it is that you truly want in your career. Ask yourself questions like – Do I see myself continuing in the field that I am in? Or, do I want to pursue a new passion? Think deeply and you will find an answer to all the career-related queries that you have been consciously or subconsciously nurturing in your mind.
5 Tips On Restarting A Career After Break
Here’s how you can get started with restarting your career after the break:
- Update your Curriculum Vitae, keeping in mind the field you are appearing for
- Network with like-minded people to secure a job after a career gap
- Wear confidence on your face
- Apply for companies and job profiles that you’re really interested in
- Appear for interviews with your chin up
- Career refers to taking time off from your regular professional life; taking a career break and claiming benefits is the best foot forward in certain personal and professional situations
- There are certain key indicators that encourage you to take a break; pay heed to them.
- Explore ideas to refresh and replenish your inner and outer self to start anew
- When you are finally ready to start a clean slate, prepare yourself to get started on a happy note
Taking a break from your professional life is not easy. It has its share of pros and cons. The cons always keep coming to your mind when you think about taking a break. They usually always act as an impediment to taking a break. However, once you overcome thinking about these cons obsessively, you can find the off-time really rewarding and can reap the innumerable benefits of me-time. In case you have had to consider a career break due to family reasons or a career break after maternity leave, you will be able to give much-needed time to your family as well. So, if you find yourself often thinking about taking a break from your career, don’t hesitate. Just go, get it for yourself.