How many of us have sat at the computer wistfully dreaming of quitting the humdrum routine and living a little? Modern life is busy – work, family, friends, hobbies – and it’s easy to get caught in the cycle without pausing to think about your longer-term ambitions, but it is possible to escape, even briefly, without sacrificing your career.
Sabbaticals and career breaks are a prolonged period of unpaid leave from work, and employers increasingly recognise the advantage of rounded employees who are personally as much as professionally fulfilled. No longer career suicide, companies are more and more receptive to the business benefits of a break.
Far from a glorified gap year, taking a career break can give you a fresh perspective on your life and work, often while taking on new challenges, and exploring new frontiers. It might be an opportunity to do that volunteering project that’s been niggling away at you, gain experience in a new field, sail the seven seas, learn a new language or travel South America on a motorbike.
Whatever your career break ideas or ambitions, if you’re feeling frustrated at work, are bored of your role, have just been made redundant or have wavering priorities following a major life event (such as divorce or serious illness), a sabbatical could be for you. Time out from your job can be a real opportunity – at any age of life – to revive your passion for work, assess how you’d like your career to progress, learn new skills, re-energise, or test out a new career path.
“Taking an adult gap year can provide people with many benefits including time to clear your head and the opportunity to step back and reassess in a way that could improve your quality of life,” says Lisa Merrick-Lawless, professional coach, in Stylist. “The idea can seem very appealing to a lot of people, especially if they are going through a rough patch, life is just feeling a bit tough or sometimes when you have been zigging for years and it just feels like to time to zag.”
In fact, more people than ever are seizing the chance, with recent researching showing that 32% of the working age population has taken some form of hiatus during their career.