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What You Need To Know About Taking a Career Break

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 11 Apr 2013 | comments*Discuss
What You Need To Know About Taking A Career Break

It is becoming more and more common for people to decide to take a career break. Whether you missed out on a gap year, want to achieve a life-long dream or just need a break from the rat race, there are plenty of reasons to take the plunge. Before you do anything you need to make sure you fully understand what your options are and are prepared financially, practically and emotionally for the adventure ahead.

Do Your Research

The world is your oyster so you need to spend time narrowing down what you want to do. Most people will spend some time travelling or volunteering in their career break but you might want to go back to college or learn a new skill. Take your time to research all your different options and find out what suits you best. Also, make sure you know what your employer’s standing on the subject is – will they be willing to hold your job and give you unpaid leave or will you have to give your notice?

Prepare Financially

Leaving the rat race for a while is a great dream but you need to think realistically about how you are going to fund it. If you have a mortgage to pay or other commitments then you need to save up your pennies. Or think about other alternatives – could you rent your house out while you are away? Find out how much money you will need to do what you want to do and then make sure you have some spare for emergencies. Also, think about how you are going to manage or finances while you are away – will you have access to the internet or could you put some payments on hold?

Getting Back to Business

Enjoy your career break and make the most of every single moment – because unfortunately it can’t last forever. At some point you are going to have to join the land of the working again and it can be difficult to adjust to. Give yourself time to adapt to being back at work, the routine and the restrictions. Sometimes, when you have done something life changing it makes you re-assess your priorities and you may decide you want to change direction. Think practically about whether it is possible and what would make you happy.

Selling Your Skills

Some people don’t take a career break because they are concerned about how it will look on their CV. However, as they become more common, employers are happy for new recruits to have had one. It shows passion and pro-activity. When you put it on your CV make sure show that you used your time constructively and flag up any transferable skills and relevant experience that you gained.

Taking a career break can be a great way to step back from your everyday life and inject a bit of excitement into it. Do your research and know what you want to do and how you can do it. Make sure you are prepared financially and be ready to a tough re-adjustment when you return. If your employer won’t keep your job open or you choose to find a new job then make sure you focus on the transferable skills you learnt in your time away.

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