Top Benefits of a Career Break
I’m happy to report that the term ‘Career Break’ seems to be popping up all over these days! I hope that has a little to do with our upcoming Meet, Plan, Go! event. Regardless of why – we are happy to see people talking, writing, and reporting about them. However, this month’s career break news seems to be a mixed bag of positive and negative! What is a career breaker to believe?!
Let’s start with the disturbing headlines. I woke up and saw this headline in my inbox one day:
Women told to forget about babies if they want to scale career heights
Headhunters’ survey suggests that taking even a few months’ career break for the sake of children will harm prospects of winning a top executive job.
– That’s the message from a new survey, conducted by InterExec, which showed that 53% of those questioned said that women who want a big business post should give up all thoughts of maternity leave – or what they prefer to call a “career break”.
Sure – I know they are talking about a maternity leave career break as opposed to a sabbatical/travel career break – but they are both breaks in your career. If motherhood isn’t an acceptable reason to take a break in your career then it’s going to be darn hard to sell breaking from your career to travel the world. Therefore I put this in the category of disturbing.
However as you consider taking a career break – consider the other point of view – the progressive point of view. Think about how a career break can actually build your skills to find an even better career upon returning. Regardless of why you put your career on pause, the benefits are still the same – you get some time to step away from the rat race and replenish.
Time away from your day to day work and desk duties is necessary. Just take this excerpt from an article about how time away from your cube is the cure for creative blocks.
As Jonah Lehrer writes in a recent Guardian piece, “Several new science papers suggest that getting away – and it doesn’t even matter where you’re going – is an essential habit of effective thinking.” Certainly, we’ve all experienced the feeling that work concerns are just less important the farther away we get from the office. Now there’s proof to back up the classic “out of sight, out of mind” expression.
The article talks about how getting away is essential for effective thinking. But adds more advantages to time away from your cubicle.
“Going even further, another study sparked by the productivity of expats like Nabokov, Hemingway, Yeats, Picasso, Gaugin, and Handel showed that not just traveling but living abroad for an extended period of time can improve our capacities for problem solving and creative thinking.”
Last I checked, employers are looking for great problem solvers and creative thinkers! So don’t hesitate to talk about these enhanced skills in your interview. You were actually expanding your skillsets when you were traveling or living abroad. Believe it. Promote it.
The real key to re-entry back into the workforce is BELIEVING that a career break is a positive career enhancing experience. If you don’t believe that yourself, then you’ll be eaten alive in your interview.
So I challenge you to forget about the first article about maternity ‘career breaks’ and focus on this one…the one that provides you the fuel for your interviews!
Here’s more ammo for your interview as you re-enter the workforce:
“It turns out that being exposed to cultures that function differently from our own – from language to social customs to public transport – awakens the brain, alerting it to a much broader range of possibilities for being, living, and making.”
So while most people are sitting at their cube year after year turning their brains to corporate mush, you can actually awaken yours by traveling!
What other skills do you think you gain from taking a career break and traveling? Please share them with us!