Whether it’s for family reasons, a new adventure, or simply because you’re feeling burnt out, many of us are taking career breaks to get away from it all.
For some it’s the opportunity to reflect on past achievements and make decisions for the future, while others it’s about change and being ready for something completely fresh and new.
Whatever the reasons, taking a career break is something people of all ages are doing.
Not just for the young
“It’s no longer just the domain of students wanting to take a ‘gap year’,” Grafton Consulting Limited Career team Senior Consultant, Karon Campbell, says.
“It can be a choice for young people with 2-3 year’s work experience or who have just completed a graduate programme or cadetship – those who want to broaden their horizons and add some new experience to their portfolio.”
She also says new mothers (and sometimes fathers) may take a career break to raise their families.
“They may utilise eLearning and blended learning options to study or retrain. They may use entrepreneurial skills to start or develop a business idea. Or they may engage in volunteer or community work.”
However, Karon says the group she’s seeing the greatest increase in taking a career break is those with perhaps 10 plus years in the workforce who are asking themselves, “where to from here?”
A chance for reflection and future planning
According to Karon, these more experienced people “typically feel that they have somewhat lost control of their career – they may be looking at promotions that they are not sure they really want, they may be in a business area which is dying or moving in a direction they no longer enjoy, or they may be missing out on opportunities because they don’t know enough about them.
“Often people in this group will take time out to realign with their career drivers and reassess their career path.”
The career consultant says individuals at a later stage in their career may have a reasonably good idea of what they would like to do towards the end of their working career, but choose to take a career break in order to mark the end of one path and the start of a new path.
“They might use the time to travel, downsize at home, reorganise their time and finances, and fully develop ‘Plan B’, before reinventing themselves in the workforce doing something where they believe they can add the most value.”