22 May 2018
You need a career break - here's why

If you're reading this, you need a career break. There are lots of reasons why this might be the case. You might be running from the law, the mafia or your stalker ex. You might need to reinvent yourself because you're frankly, a bit dull. Or you might need to leave your job pronto because of that embarrassing incident on the last works night out involving cheap vodka and a Biffa bin.

Whatever the reason, we are here to help - and there's actually real, tangible information you can use in here, in amongst the jokes! So dive in.

You're unsatisfied at work

There are lots of reasons why you don't bounce out of bed raring to go to work in the morning (or afternoon, or night, we know a lot of you work funny hours!).

You might not enjoy your job. Your boss could be annoying. Your colleagues might be even more annoying. You feel like your job doesn't really make a difference (and according to Jeremy Hardy, unless you're a nurse or a binman, that's true!).

Or it's something else, or a combination of things.

Whatever the reason for you being unsatisfied at work, a career break can help. And that's true, whether you go back to the same job afterwards, a similar job in the same field, or start something completely different.

If you go back to the same job, you may well gain enough experience on your career break to land you a promotion! We have seen this happen much more than you would expect - some career breakers even get offered a promotion before they leave!

If you start something new, well then the problem is solved - unless your new boss is even more annoying. But if that's the case, your career break experience will mean leaving and going to something new will be much easier than it was before.

You don't get paid enough

You might not be paid enough. In fact, you're almost certainly not being paid what you think what you are worth! But we can't answer the reason why people are unable to see your true value because we don't know you.

What we can do is tell you that a career break will increase your earning power.

Sounds counter-intuitive, doesn't it? How can taking time out of work actually make you demand a higher salary?

Well, here's the thing - it's how you spend your time away that's important. You're right - if you spend months sunning yourself on a beach, drinking dubious cocktails and attempting to flirt with people more attractive than you then settling for someone who is a bit minging but up for it, you're not going to have much to show for your career break.

But if you spend that time volunteering, taking a leadership role, working abroad, doing a course, learning new skills, working as a team, solving challenges and so on and so on - you suddenly become that prime candidate that employers are looking for. And the best thing? You can still have enough free time for all the other stuff that we mentioned earlier.

You want to learn something new

You might take a course on your career break - loads of people like you learn to be a ski instructor, snowboard instructor, yacht crew, sailing instructor, or watersports instructor.

Or they take a language course which involves cultural immersion - learning all about the history and culture of a country while learning the language.

Plenty do TEFL courses of course, so they can teach English as a foreign language. And others just do short courses before or during their trip - whether that's photography, blogging or something like diving.

There's tons of stuff out there for you to learn, so whatever interests you, we can guarantee there's a career break course to suit you. Unless you're into the kind of stuff that haunts the darker corners of the internet, of course...

Learning something new can have so many benefits. The main one for career breakers doing instructor or TEFL courses is that it qualifies you to work your way around the world - some courses even come with a guaranteed job!

Even a course that isn't directly relevant to your work abroad or your career at home can have benefits. More than anything, it shows potential employers (or your current employer) that you're willing and able to learn something new, and your aging brain isn't turning to stone.

Finally, there's nothing more satisfying than learning for its own sake. We know that doesn't make us sound very cool, but think about it. Almost everyone you ask will tell you that they've always wanted to learn something, or start a new hobby. A career break is the perfect time to put that into action.

Something dramatic has happened

This isn't the story for every career breaker we meet, but it is surprisingly common.

Your life is ticking along quite nicely and you've been thinking about a career break but putting it off because money, time, fear, etc etc.

And then something happens which gives you the kick up the bum you sorely need to make a change.

For a lot of career breakers, this is often something sad. Bereavement is common - often of a parent. A long-term trip can be a way of coping with the loss and trying to make something positive out of their tragedy. It can be something that the career breaker will feel is "what they would have wanted."

For others, it is a relationship break-up. Especially if it was a long-term relationship, getting away from it all and working out what you really want can be a constructive way of dealing with the loss (even if other people will tell you that you're running away from your problems). Being physically distant from your ex can be a great way to heal. And what's even better? Shacking up with your fellow travellers or a sexy local!

Some people take a career break because they've been made redundant - this is the perfect time because they have no job to stay in and they often have a chunk of redundancy money to help fund the trip.

And because we want to end this section on a positive note, let's bear in mind that you don't have to be bereaved, dumped or made redundant to take a career break! Maybe you want to celebrate something instead -  for example, we do see some career breakers using their trip as an extended honeymoon!

You want to do something different

Maybe you're quite happy in your job and your life, but there's just something missing you can't quite put your finger on.

Well, we'll let you into a little secret.

"Doing something different" is the number one reason people give for taking a career break! Yes, it really is that vague.

You just have itchy feet, you want to see the world while you can, and you want to meet new people, try new things and visit some truly terrible toilets. Well, maybe not that last one but we guarantee it will happen. And it's all part of the experience!

If you feel that you need a change of scene, that's a really good indication that you need to take a career break. Do you feel like you need a "proper" reason to go? Well you don't! The people who have gone before you haven't and they've had the most amazing experiences because they didn't wait.

Now it's your turn.


Enjoyed this post? You can do three things now. The first is to have a look at what career breaks you can do. The second is to tell us that you're absolutely, definitely going to take a career break. The third is to sign up to our newsletter so you can read about yourself when we feature your story in a future blog post!