Give Yourself a Break This Year

As we start off 2011, many people will have already failed on their resolutions. But here’s one resolution on CNN Money that caught our eye: New Year’s Resolution: I quit!

“Employers watch out: Your workers can’t wait to quit.

According to a recent survey by job-placement firm Manpower, 84% of employees plan to look for a new position in 2011. That’s up from just 60% last year.

Most employees have sat tight through the recession, not even considering other jobs because so few firms were hiring.

But after years of increased work and frozen compensation, ‘a lot of people will be looking because they’re disappointed with their current jobs,’ said Paul Bernard, a veteran executive coach and career management advisor who runs his own firm.”

Our advice? Take a break before jumping into a new job. After years of burnout and frustration, it will help to get rejuvenated and relax your mind for a bit. And you’ll be a much happier new employee.

Give Yourself a Break

In Notes from a Briefcase, Steve Bamberger, a self-described ‘Briefcase’ and workaholic, shared some insight on the power of taking a break – even if it’s for a week.

“It’s ok to unplug. No one knows better than I do how easy it is to skip vacations. But the office will function without you. I may be a business junkie and mild workaholic, but I still spent a week in a cave house on Santorini last year and a week traveling national parks last month.”

But you should also be careful that your burnout doesn’t cause you to make a bad career decision just because you are unhappy in your current position. The last thing you want to do is end up in a similar predicament.

Another recent article, this one in the Wall Street Journal, addresses the growth of gap years in the US. More students are delaying college to take gap years to travel, study and volunteer. The top reason cited? Burnout.

“Burnout from the competitive pressure of high school and a desire ‘to find out more about themselves,’ are the top two reasons students take gap years, according to a survey of 280 people who did so by Karl Haigler and Rae Nelson of Advance, N.C., co-authors of a forthcoming guidebook on the topic.

Taking a gap year is also linked to higher motivation in college, according to an Australian study of 2,502 students published in August in the Journal of Educational Psychology”.

And although the focus of the article is on young adults, these same key messages can certainly apply to you.

This certainly applied to Briefcase to Backpack co-founder Michael Bontempi, who left his 14-year career in 2007 without securing a new job. He found that a break actually helped his career.

“My career break gave me the opportunity to reflect on my previous 14 years of experience and helped me to reevaluate my career path and evaluate if I was on the right track.

I would never say that taking a chance like this wouldn’t hurt your career. But conversely, one could argue that staying in an unfulfilling position in your career or life is hurting you as an individual. To me, that is what this career break was about. Life can be full of regrets for those who focus on the potential consequences of taking a risk as opposed to the new opportunities a change can enable.”

So go ahead – resolve to take a break this year. It’s the one time where “break” and “resolution” should appear in a sentence together.

Other comments

4 Comments on "Give Yourself a Break This Year"

  1. Tweets that mention Give Yourself a Break This Year | Briefcase to Backpack - Travel Advice for Career Breaks or Sabbaticals -- on Mon, 3rd Jan 2011 8:13 pm 

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sherry Ott, BriefcasetoBackpack. BriefcasetoBackpack said: Go ahead – give yourself a break this new year! #careerbreak […]

  2. Zablon Mukuba on Tue, 4th Jan 2011 7:53 am 

    taking a gap year is very important especially since burnout is a serious problem. its also a great way to spend a whole year without any responsibilities

  3. Michaela Potter on Thu, 6th Jan 2011 6:53 pm 

    It is a great way to deal with burnout, but at the same time, we encourage individuals to still be productive during that time. Career breaks and gap years aren’t just one long vacation, rather a time where people can seek new opportunities, learn about other cultures, and open their minds to new possibilities. Plus, it still takes a lot of time and work to make the most of the break, so responsibilities never go away.

  4. Jane on Mon, 31st Jan 2011 3:11 pm 

    I couldn’t agree more and I definitely need a break this year. Hope to get it real soon=)

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