Benefits of Taking a Break Before Changing Jobs
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.
And read what Pamela has to say about Circumstances: Recognizing the Signs You Need a Career Change.