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Career Break– Is it right for you?

Updated on February 15, 2012

Are you sick of slogging it out at work disgruntled, stressed or just want to get out of the rut you’re in then you probably need a career break to go explore new avenues and adventures to get you back on track to get focused and to feel energised once again.

Stressed at work
Stressed at work | Source

Firstly what is a career break?

It’s exactly that a break in your career a period of leave which is normally unpaid and for a period of weeks, months or up to 2 years away from your current job. It’s a time allowing you to revitalise, energise and get focused again.

What are the benefits of career breaks?

Career breaks allow you to do basically anything you dreamed of doing. They can be used for pursuits of study, travel, volunteering, parenting, and learning new skills or even just relaxing as long as you use the time constructively then you will get the most out of your career break. Career breaks normally allow you to return to the position you left off from or at least somewhere else in the company.

Who takes a career break?

People take career breaks for various reasons such as they are stressed or bored with their work and they need a break to refresh, revitalise or to seek new directions in life, new career paths or maybe they have never had a gap year to do the things they have always wanted to do.


There are a number of ways to finance your career break including having savings, volunteering for accommodation and food or selling items that are no longer required or even possibly working a different job. If you are travelling and have a house or an apartment you can look at renting your property or even look at selling. No matter what you do you will need to have finances to support yourself for the period of time you are out of work.

Meet new people
Meet new people
Go somewhere new
Go somewhere new
Try volunteering
Try volunteering | Source

Am I entitled to a career break?

In general, not all employers have career break policies in place and there is no law that says they have to give you one so investigate whether your company does or doesn’t have one. Most large companies are now starting to implement such policies for a number of reasons that not only benefit the company but you as well.

These include for the company a career break will allow the employee to refresh and revitalise, learn new skills and broaden their own horizons and life experience and bring that energy and experience back to the company. Another reason is training, an employer can spend a lot of money training employees and therefore would rather keep their staff for the amount of time and money they have invested in them.

Even if the company does not have such policy in place it’s still achievable to get a career break.

How do you get one?

Firstly you need to find out whether the company you’re working for provides a career break policy and what it takes to get one. If your company has such policies read it and familiarise yourself with it arming yourself with the guidelines and parameters of the policy. Some work places may have a policy that state you cannot take a career break until you have completed five years’ service or a number of other factors. The company will also take into account staffing levels and operational commitments in the deciding or granting of your application.

If your company does not have such a policy it’s possible to research the internet to see what the parameters and guidelines most companies use.

Now you will need to raise the topic with your boss or superior and tell them that you’re seeking a career break and to see if it’s viable. A good way to do this is to have an off the record chat to your boss and brief them verbally of your intentions and from there you can feel out whether they are likely to allow you a career break.

Next, make it official and type a report outlining your history with the company you’re working for incorporating a summary of your achievements with the company. Add supporting documentation to your report why you would like to take a career break, how long you intend to take a break and reasons for doing so.

Hand the report to your boss and wait and see if they support your reasons. If you don’t get supported then the other option is to leave your work and find another job upon return to normal working duties or make a few compromises and work together to make it happen. Most times if you are a good employee, they don’t want to lose you therefore will either allow it to happen or work with you to make it happen.

If you thought the only way out of your job was to quit or take a holiday then try taking a career break instead, I highly recommend it and I’m sure you won’t regret it. Good luck!


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