You know that feeling when you dread checking your work inbox, answering that client call, or heading into that meeting with your manager. We’ve all experienced less than satisfying jobs at some point. There are many different reasons that some positions aren’t a good fit. Whether it’s the company culture, the responsibilities, the team or the lack of purpose, we all experience burnout at some point. If you’re contemplating whether it’s time to abandon ship, consider taking a career break instead.
However, there is a difference between being unhappy and unfulfilled. Before deciding to leave your job, make efforts to fix things within your control. Talk to management or HR about your concerns and make improvements like adjusting your work hours, negotiating more paid time off or adding new benefits. If things still don’t improve, it may be time to search for other opportunities.
Taking a career break can allow you to take a step back and reevaluate some of the important decisions in your life. You can return highly motivated with new insights into your future career path.
Reasons to Take a Career Break
There are so many valid reasons to take a career break. From wellness to self-improvement, career breaks give you an opportunity to discover more about yourself.
- Pursue a Passion: Some people pursue their side hustles and turn them into small businesses, without any intentions of returning to their job.
- Family Matters: Others may want to focus on family or start a family, which are both very understandable and important.
- Health: Stress, fatigue and unforeseen health conditions may call for a much-needed break.
- Travel: For people who seek adventure, a career break may be just what they need to explore a bit and travel to return refreshed.
- Learn a Skill: If you’ve always wanted to learn a new language or hobby, a career break may be the perfect chance to do so.
- Volunteer: Help others and find a purpose in your everyday life by volunteering during your career break.
Benefits of a Career Break
Besides just taking time to recharge and refocus, career breaks can reveal more about your future goals. By stepping away from your usual routine, you can grow in unexpected ways. Whether you master a new skill or travel to new places, each experience can lend valuable lessons. You can also build up your personal network and create some meaningful connections or find a mentor. All of these things, combined with reduced stress and personal discovery make career breaks a great way to improve yourself.
Can you Afford a Career Break?
Not everyone is in the position to take a leave of absence from their career. Consider how you’ll manage without a steady income, benefits or contributions to your retirement. There are certainly tradeoffs to weigh when making this decision. You may also want to find a supplemental income to get by, whether you work a part-time job or make money from a side hustle. Also, consider a gap in any health insurance and make sure you are protected while on a career break.
How to Thrive After Your Break
From just a few weeks to maybe a few months, your career break should have you feeling restored and ready to tackle the next chapter in your life. Maybe you’ve decided on pursuing a totally different career path or starting your own business. If you plan to return to work, update your resume with any new transferrable skills you may have picked up and lean on connections in your network. Take it easy and plan out lots of small breaks shortly after your return.
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