Updated: Sep 17, 2020
Taking a career break or Sabbatical may not be on your radar. You might think it’s something that college professors do to work on a book or a special research project. But in reality, many people from all backgrounds and industries consider taking a career break to rest, to dream, or just to reflect. If taking six months to a year off from your career and rhythm of life sounds appealing, here are some questions to consider.
Step 1: Considering the Idea… Why is this right for me?
You may want to start this journey by answering the questions below. If yes, is the prevailing answer, then you might be ripe for a career break.
Are you thinking about taking a new direction?
Are you longing for more meaning?
Do you dream about a new experience?
Would you like more work-life balance?
Would you like a new challenge in your life?
Step 2: Facing the Fears… What are they?
Begin to ask yourself, what are your biggest fears around taking a career break. Take time to address and minimize these fears. Talk it through with a trusted friend.
What am I most afraid of?
How real are these fears?
What can I do to minimize these fears?
Step 3: Start Planning… Is it such a crazy idea?
Planning for a career break can take anywhere from six months to two years. It all depends on your level of responsibility in life and work. Answer some of these questions to get you started.
Does your work offer career breaks/sabbaticals?
When is the right time for you and your family to take a break?
Who needs to know you are thinking about going on a career break?
What responsibilities need to be taken care of before I can go?
How much money do I need to go on a career break?
Who are going to be my career break cheerleaders?
Where will I go and what will I do?
How will I address resistance from others?
Hiring a life coach that specializes in career breaks can help in this process. Going on a career break has many stages: 1) Planning, 2) Executing, and 3) Re-Entry. A coach can help you work through these three aspects. For example, people tend to oversimplify the re-entry stage and find that going back home is quite difficult. Get help on your journey.
Most people will read this and say, sounds great, but I can never do this. That’s for other people. The reality is that you are doing exactly what you want to do right now. I’m not going to say it’s easy or that it doesn’t require sacrifice, but I know that everything worth doing in life takes sacrifice. At least, begin to consider, if it were possible, going on a career break. Read my Career Break story.