24 August 2011

There are certain things you just don't say in our office. Here are some of them:

  1. Holiday
    A career break isn't an extended holiday, it's doing something constructive in your time out. That won't stop some people seeing it as "just a holiday" though - you'll have to convince them otherwise!

  2. Voluntourism
    It makes it sound like volunteering is a jolly and only for the benefit of the volunteer, when actually it's hard work and the benefits are long-lasting and far-reaching. The word "voluntourism" is also used to criticise volunteer projects, volunteer organisations and the volunteers themselves which is unfair, as so much good is done by the people and companies who are working out there.

  3. Right to a career break
    You don't have one, sorry. A surprising number of people still think you are allowed a career break if you ask for one, but unfortunately that's not the case. Your career break is at your employer's discretion. Some career breakers have had to leave their jobs as they weren't given a sabbatical.

  4. I'm too old to...
    Every week we hear of career breakers in their 70s and 80s doing amazing things like climbing mountains or finding love on their volunteer placement! There are a few career break things with an upper age limit (mainly working holiday visas for places like Australia, New Zealand and the USA) but most don't. Your fitness, attitude and enthusiasm are far more important! In fact, some volunteer organisations actively seek out older volunteers because of all the experience they have!

  5. I haven't got my sabbatical agreement in writing
    This is the cause of about 90% of the post-career-break issues that people contact us about, and it makes us cry because it's so easy to avoid! Please, please, just get it all sorted and signed off before you leave!

  6. Responsible (or ethical) travel
    Technically not banned, but we make sure we only ever use it when it means something, rather than just greenwashing. We have known of companies who have used terms like that as a marketing tool and not actually behaved in a responsible or ethical way. We won't have such companies advertise with us.

  7. Time off
    We prefer the phrase "time out" as it's time away from your normal career, rather than a relaxing time sunning yourself on a beach. It certainly doesn't feel like time off when you're more active than you were at your day job!

  8. Year out
    Again, not technically banned, but just not used as it's inaccurate - most career breakers don't go for a year (anything from a couple of weeks to 2 years is possible and most go for around 6 months). It tends to be younger people on a gap year (and those who work with them) who use the term "year out".

  9. I can't take a career break because...
    We hear this too much and in almost all cases, the obstacles are put there by the person and they are overcomeable (we know that's not a word but it should be!). Also, we can always point to career breakers who have been in the same situation and still managed to make the break - whether that's family disapproval, mental illness, not having much money - they all found a way! And you can too.

  10. I've always wanted to...
    Stop dreaming. Start doing.


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