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Beginner’s Guide To Taking A Career Break

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Do you dream about quitting your job to travel the world or to have the time to learn a new skill or pursue a lifelong passion? Kate, who runs Career Break Kate did and took the leap, quit the corporate world, booked a plane ticket to India and went off to explore the world for 9 months. Kate says that taking a career break was the best decision she ever made and she wants to inspire others to make the leap to take some time out.

If this is something you are considering, then here is Kate’s beginner’s guide to taking a career break.

What is a career break

A career break is taking some time out from your career to follow a passion, whether that is travelling the world, teaching abroad or learning a new skill. To take a career break you would usually already be in an established job and you would quit, so you have ultimate freedom.

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What is the difference between a career break and sabbatical

A sabbatical is when your employer agrees to a certain amount of time off, with a guaranteed job when you return. If you are concerned about quitting your job altogether, then a sabbatical may be the best option for you. The hardest part is getting your employer to agree to the sabbatical. The other option is a career change and you could look at jobs abroad if you want a change of scenery. You could even set up your own business, working remotely, so you can fit work around your other passions. As you can see there are lots of options available, so it depends on your circumstances.

Will taking a career break damage your career

No, not at all but you have to be savvy as to when is the best time to take the career break. If you are due a promotion at your current job then it may be a good idea to take the promotion, get at least a years experience and then go on your career break. More and more professionals are taking career breaks and I think employers actually respect people who have followed their passion and taken some time out for themselves. It shows that you are brave enough to go after what you want.

As long as you are not just sat on a sofa for a year, you will learn transferrable skills which you can utilise in your job when you return. For example, if you decide to teach English abroad, you will be improving your communication skills, your patience, thinking outside of the box and the experience can increase your confidence.  If you are working in a foreign country you will also be learning a new language, even if you don’t intend to. It would also show future employers that you are willing to put yourself outside of your comfort zone.

After I returned home from my career break, I found a job closer to home with a higher salary, which I wouldn’t have got if I didn’t quit my job.

girl stands in front of glacier

How long do career breaks last for

If you are taking a career break instead of a sabbatical, you have no employer or job to worry about. Your career break can last as long as you like, but it usually comes down to your budget as to how long you can be unemployed for. Be realistic when you are setting your budget and stay motivated to saving as much money as possible when you still have a job. Career breaks are usually anything from three months up to two years.

How much money do you need to take a career break

This really depends on what you want to do on your career break. If you intend on working abroad then you obviously won’t need as much as you would if wanted to travel the world for a year.

Be realistic from the start and work out your budget by doing as much research as possible. You need to figure out how much you can afford to save each month while you are still at work and how many months you need to save for before quitting your job. Always have a contingency pot, as your savings will disappear quicker than you think when you don’t have a steady income.

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What can you do on a career break

What can you do with your time off? Well, the world is your oyster! The beauty of a career break is that you can decide how to spend your time. Have you always dreamed of writing a novel, qualifying as a ski teacher or hiking through New Zealand? Well, this is your time to do it. Whatever your passions and dreams are…follow them. I had wanted to travel the world for as long as I could remember, so I always knew that I would spend my time travelling the world.

Here are a few examples of what you could do with your career break:

-Learn a new skill

-Teach abroad

-Travel the world

-Volunteer

-Do an internship

-Qualify as an instructor

All I would say is that you may only have this time off once in your life, so you want to make it count. Spend your time productively as this will help you approach the subject with ease when you are going for interviews when you get back home.

Top tip: While you are having the time of your life on your career break, don’t forget that you will be returning home at some point. It is a good idea to keep up with the current news in your profession. Update your CV and highlight your career break, don’t try and hide it.

Finally

The most important part – enjoy yourself, you deserve it!  I honestly believe that there is never a ‘right’ time to travel and sometimes you have to take a risk. The 9-5 will always be waiting for you when you get home. Head over to Career Break Kate for more detailed guides on taking a career break or sabbatical and for travel inspiration and tips.

About the author: Kate runs Career Break Kate where she blogs about the process of taking a career break, travel inspiration and travel tips. Kate has visited 35 countries in total and continues to travel as much as possible even though she is back doing the 9-5. Kate believes that taking a career break can change peoples lives for the better and can actually help their career. When Kate is at home she is either daydreaming about the next trip or walking her cocker spaniel, Bonnie. 

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