Before we dive into the blog, we would love to give you an example of what Stefan Stagmister, a renowned New York-based designer, did. Stefan states that the first 25 years of human age are for studying and learning, the next 40 years are for working, and the rest 15 are for your retirement. Stefan decided to borrow five years from his retirement and used them across his working years. By doing this, he justifies taking a year-long sabbatical every seven years. That means taking a break every seven years in his whole working life. Isn't that smart and needed?
The whole point of stating this example was before you were to present a different perspective on taking career breaks. Career breaks, adult gap years, is the term that is used these days to take deliberate breaks from work (any kind of work). These could be triggered by stress at work, lack of time to spend with family, hobbies, and absence of personal fulfillment.
If taking a career break has been on your mind, but you find yourself on the edge of making the final decision, then here are a few questions that you must ask yourself before you decide.
Question 1: Why Do I Want A Break?
There are plenty of reasons to deprioritize work and take a break. What's your reason? Some of them could be spending more time with your friends and family, focusing on a passion left behind unintentionally, or needing a break from stress at work.
You need to articulate your reason and be sure that it is valid to YOU. Eventually, the gravity of your reason will help you stand by your decision.
Question 2: What Would Taking A Break Mean To My Professional Career?
If you want this break to be temporary and not permanent, you have to make sure that you do all the necessary research. Because the competition is high in every industry and sector, some thorough planning will help your journey back to work smoothly and hassle-free. That would mean asking yourself some tough but practical questions like - What stage is my career in? How fast is the industry evolving? Would I want to come back to the same industry? And so on.
Question 3: What Are The Consequences?
It will be ideal if you look at this question from both sides- What are the consequences of taking a break, and what are the consequences of NOT taking a break?
For example, some consequences would be lagging in a career, lack of recurring income, and having to upskill individually.
Looking at the flip side, not taking a career break would burn you out, make you lose some precious moments with your friends and family, and have some regrets about not doing and experiencing everything you wanted to. Taking you back to Question 1 of Why Do I Need this Break?
Question 4: What To Do While On A Break?
Many people tend to have a laissez-faire attitude while going on a break. That means the policy of leaving things to take their course. While it is exciting and lets you reinvent yourself, it could also lead to losing that precious time doing nothing productive. So a little planning for an unplanned day always helps.
Question 5: Can My Finances Support A Break?
That is the most important part of your decision-making process. Whether or not your bank balance supports your needs for this period? Planning your finances will help you take a more relaxed break. It will help you decide the amount of money you will need to survive your break and some unplanned events like a medical emergency.
Question 6: Do I Have A Support System?
Taking a break can be quite taxing, ironically. You will need your friends, family members, spouse, mentor to be there for you on those days when you suddenly value yourself a little less for no reason.
Lastly, how will you support your social responsibilities and dependents (if any) like parents, kids, etc.? While we can take a break from work, we can't take a break from our social responsibilities. A planned career break can go a long way in making sure you are just as comfortable as your friends/family around you.
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