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Take a career break - quit the job
Gap year or career break
There are many reasons why a person would want to take a break from his or her career. The most common reason would be to take care of kids or for higher education. Some others take a break to pursue a hobby or travel to places where they always wanted to. There are a few lucky folks who take an impromptu decision and quit their job. However, for the rest of us, a break has to be planned carefully and there are lots of facts and figures to be considered.
Deciding the Duration
The first step to consider is how long a break you are planning to take. If you are going for higher education, then you definitely know how long it is. One of my friends left his career to do an executive MBA, and started working immediately after his course. As such, going for higher studies is generally an add-on to your resume and it cannot technically be considered as a break. On the other hand , people who want to take a break to pursue their passion need to decide how long a vacation they plan to take. Few companies allow a sabbatical if it is less than a year. In that case, you can easily rejoin the same organization once you are back. If it's more than an year, then, you may have to quit the job .
If you are taking an extended maternity leave, the duration would often depend on the situation at home. One of my colleagues had taken the same and was hoping to join back 6 months after her son was born. However, she never came back as she was constantly worried if her child would be okay in the daycare. If you are planning to take a gap year because of some family commitments, it is all the more important to plan the duration.
Planning the Finances
The next step is to ensure that you don't end up in financial mess during the break. If you are going to stay at home raising children, you obviously need your spouse to have a decent paycheck. When I decided to stay at home, I had a lengthy discussion with my husband and ensured that we can afford to go with just one person's salary for some time. You would need to take extra care if you have any liabilities such as a house or a car loan. If you are single and want to take a break to pursue a hobby or passion, check if you have enough savings to continue the current lifestyle. This is also very important for people who are taking a gap year planning to travel to exotic locations. It will be quite foolish to let go of a decent job and end up taking personal loans to support yourselves. If the finances are not enough, it's a good idea of check out part-time freelance jobs to carry you through the break. There are lots of jobs available online and although you can't expect a great pay as a beginner, it would grow over time and would help you till you go back to a full time profession. Who knows, you may even love the new job so much that you don't mind turning that into a full time profession !
Preparing for the break
Prepare a good plan of what all you intend to do and stick to the plan. Prepare yourself mentally and take a fully aware decision. If you are taking more than a year of break, you should know that when you do come back, your peers may have moved ahead in their career. There's no point comparing yourself to anybody else.
From the time I quit my job, my peers have got couple of decent hikes, and some of them have been promoted to managerial roles. If I do go back to the same organization, I may have to work under one of them, at a salary less than theirs. So accept the fact that it may be tough to come back to the same role or draw the same salary that you were getting prior to the break. Of course, this does not apply to folks who have quit to do some management course relevant to their area of work. They can surely come back with a hefty pay package.
Announcing the Resignation
If you have decided that you need this break and manage the finances, it's time to announce your resignation. Be prepared with a very valid reason for the career break, and watch out for what you convey to the management. Saying something like "This job sucks and I want a break" would make it quite tough for you to get back to the same firm later. Although this may be the actual reason, put it across positively. Let the focus be on what all you plan to do and how the break can make you more energetic and refreshed. Keep in mind that you may need referrals from your ex boss or colleagues irrespective of whether you want to join the same organization or not.
Planning for comeback
Lastly, be in touch with all your old colleagues and friends. You would need recommendation and help from others when you come back. Also, brush up on your skills whenever you plan to return to the full time job. I don't mean just technical skills. Technology changes at a rapid pace and if you take more than two years of sabbatical, the skill-set you had may have become outdated. Follow the new developments that have taken place related to your area of expertise and try to keep up with it. Even otherwise, you can always start afresh. The only thing you need is confidence. Never consider yourself less deserving than anyone else who is attending the interview. Remember that all the skills you have learnt during the break can positively add to your resume and to your job when you come back. Dealing with kids teaches time management and patience, travel teaches about new culture and dealing with people. Higher education would enhance your job prospects.So, be confident and never ever regret your decision to do what you wanted.
Have a wonderful break and do come back rejuvenated !!