Benefits of Taking a Break Before Changing Jobs

Pamela Skillings - Escape from Corporate America Ready to change jobs or careers? Pamela Skillings, a successful entrepreneur, certified career coach, and the author of Escape from Corporate America: A Practical Guide to Creating the Career of Your Dreams, explains why you should consider a break before doing so.

1. What are some benefits of taking a break before changing jobs?
Ovid wrote, “A field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” Often, people who are burned out at work simply need to step away to see the bigger picture.

They usually return from a career break with renewed energy and creativity, new perspectives on life and work, and clearer priorities. Your career break can not only help you restore balance, but can also provide needed inspiration for success in the next phase of your career — a “bountiful crop” of ideas and achievements.

2. What are some of the benefits of pursuing something you always dreamed of, like traveling, during the break?
If you’ve always fantasized about traveling the world or learning to paint or writing a novel, a career break can give you the opportunity to live your dream. So many of us talk about how we’re going to pursue our true calling “someday.” But that “someday” may never come if you don’t plan for it. Do you really want to look back on your life with regret? You don’t have to wait for your golden years to take a break and pursue your passion.

3. Any tips on how people can use this time and experience to reflect on what it is they want to do next?
A career break — whether it was chosen or forced upon you — represents a great opportunity to take a step back and plan for the future. You can use the time to explore new directions and develop new skills. Work with a career coach to set new goals, take classes, volunteer for a meaningful pro bono project, or devote some time to a long-neglected passion.

4. Can you offer an example of someone you know who took a successful break before pursuing another job?
I know many smart people who have enjoyed career breaks and used them to transition into new vocations. One current client took six months off to travel the world after getting downsized from her financial services job. Her travels through Europe eventually inspired her to attend cooking school and pursue a new career as a pastry chef.

One of the corporate escape artists highlighted in my book took a year off to windsurf in Hawaii before deciding to go back to school and become a first-grade teacher. Another career changer from the book, award-winning musician Laura Cantrell, used a career break as a way to “try on” her dream career as a professional singer. She took time off from her job at an investment bank to go on tour as an opening act for Elvis Costello. She returned to her job after the tour, but soon left to pursue her music career full-time.

For more information on Pamela Skillings, visit her website Escape from Corporate America, where you can also read about Sherry Ott’s “Daring Tales of Corporate Escape”.

And read what Pamela has to say about Circumstances: Recognizing the Signs You Need a Career Change.



Other comments

4 Comments on "Benefits of Taking a Break Before Changing Jobs"

  1. Time for a Career Break? Your Sabbatical Guide on Tue, 3rd Nov 2009 9:45 am 

    [...] Before trekking off to Nepal on her latest jaunt, Sherry asked me to provide some advice for corporate types who are thinking about taking a career break. Check out the articles on how to know when it’s time for a career break and the very real benefits of taking a break before changing jobs. [...]

  2. Jorrit on Tue, 3rd Nov 2009 12:38 pm 

    Thanks for encouraging people to get a fresh pair of eyes by getting out and travelling. My wife and I did just that a few years ago and turned around our lives in the process. We went from being stressed-out workaholics to settling in the Lake District and starting up our own business. LIfe feels much healthier… although we know that we will head out on the road again at some point!

  3. Michaela Potter on Mon, 9th Nov 2009 10:33 am 

    Jorrit – Thanks for sharing your career break success story! By sharing personal experiences hopefully we can show others that it is possible to take a break now to travel.

  4. Vickram on Thu, 11th Mar 2010 12:10 pm 

    Thank you for your thoughts. Sometimes it is true that we need to get off the band wagon to check if we are on the right path.

    I am in a situation where I want a break but the question is should i get a job and take a break or do the other way!

    Bit confused because of the thought that companies might make use of / under-pay people who took a break & are currently not in a job.

    Your thoughts pls.

    Warm Regards,
    Vickram

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