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5 Reasons a Break in Momentum Might Be Just What You Need

5 Reasons a Break in Momentum Might Be Just What You Need

It is simple to get caught up in a cycle. Where passion is a blur, direction one dimensional, purpose becomes questionable and there are no answers. While the mind pushes forward to achieve and achieve, your body is exhausted from going and going a hundred miles per hour no breaks in between.

If neither a quick escapade nor a long holiday brings you the peace of mind that you seek, what you may really need is a sabbatical or a much needed career break.

As you ponder your options, there may be a million different reasons – money, status, fear of uncertainty – for you to hesitate making a conscious decision to break your momentum in life for a few months if not longer. Once you figure out the mechanics like where to live, how to manage your financial commitments and what the career impacts are, here are 5 great reasons a career break can be life changing:

1. You are constantly challenged to think out of the box

Whether you choose to break the routine by travelling, volunteering or starting your own venture, having no stable income to depend on might seem daunting at first but trust that you will find yourself constantly challenged to think of creative ways of generating cash flow.

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From freelancing the skills you possess to sharpening your potential in different areas, you will pleasantly discover that somehow there will be some way in which you can contribute to the world. And perhaps you will wonder why you never thought of doing it in the past.

Your situation will also put you in a better position to think out of the box when it comes to opinions and perceptions. While there are people who will be extremely supportive of the decision you have made there will also be people who will not quite understand your need to get away. In their eyes you will be a sloth.

You will learn that it is not necessary for anyone apart from yourself to understand your situation and what you would like to achieve out of the different stages of life. Life does not need to involve constantly ticking off check boxes. The sooner you realize this, the more you will be able to focus on things that matter to you rather than anyone else.

2. You Start to Discover The Real You

How many times at the dinner table or at a party have you started a conversation and one of the first few questions that you have had to answer is what line of work you are in? Have you ever gotten to know yourself as a person without the attachment of a job? What do you like to do? Who are you? If you weren’t just the analyst or the lawyer or the reporter or the entrepreneur, who are you?

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The time that comes with a break will allow you that introspection. You will do, see and experience parts of the world and moments that will reintroduce you to yourself and you will find new respect for some of the traits that you already have. You might even start questioning if your current life has got you climbing up the wrong ladder too quickly.

Reevaluating your current lifestyle choices will be common and frequent, from the places and food you choose to eat, the activities you usually engage in and the clothes you usually wear. If not for the lack of income, perhaps simply from the big change in your own lifestyle. A new pair of shoes may not seem as exciting anymore and suddenly DIY missions may not sound like the worst thing you have ever heard of and for the first time ever, you might actually have the time for it.

3. You Discover New Passions and Rediscover Old Hobbies

In your state of exploration, you may find yourself volunteering more than committing to paid work during your career break. Surprisingly, the contentment that comes from volunteering can be more overwhelming when it is a cause that you truly believe in and stand for.

Volunteering is a great way to immerse yourself in a diversified role that you might not have the opportunity to experience otherwise and maybe even discover that it was your true calling from the beginning. While you may think that volunteering involves nothing more than completing simple tasks, there is so much untapped potential about yourself that you can discover.

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Most volunteer establishments will also happily provide a reference for future career prospects and along with it, a new passion you never really knew you had.

Naturally, falling back on old hobbies that you might have lost grasp of way back when you were in university or before a real job took over will be common because suddenly you will have time again. Be it writing, reading, dancing, eating, indulgence will come without guilt. This will allow you to reexamine the choices you made for yourself and decide if you are happily on the right track with your current choices. And if that is not the case, you can choose to embrace change.

4. You will Meet People from Different Walks of Life

Traveling, volunteering, and simply spending time away from your usual routine will bring many different people into your life. Some you may meet for a couple of minutes others may leave a bigger impact. Each one may end up teaching you a thing or two about yourself or life itself. They may not. Either way, these strangers will bring a refreshing change to your usual scenery. And if you do not find an inspiring soul among any of them, you need not worry about the attachment because no one will stay unless you let them.

5. You will Learn New Skills

Unless you spend your days and nights locked up in a room watching Netflix, you are sure to pick up a couple of new skills. Perhaps you have always wanted to learn a new language, become a yoga teacher or you have just wanted to be independent in general? Picking up new skills may even be the theme of the year.

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At the very least, you will learn lots of life skills that your job might not have been able to teach you. Both a sense of adventure and the ability to tackle uncertainty by being present are skills that only time and experience can teach you. Let the forces of nature be your teacher.

At the heart of it all, in today’s fast paced world, everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere but sometimes all you need is to slow it down in order to find out where you truly belong.

More by this author

Dimi Jani

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

Physical Signs

Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

Mental Signs

One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

  • The tension in your neck
  • Difficulties with sleeping
  • Unable to concentrate
  • High anxiety
  • Depression

If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

Desire for an Increase of Salary

The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

Overnight Decision

Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

Rejected for a Promotion

I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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Bored at Work

Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

  • How long have you worked in your career?
  • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
  • Do you receive recognition?
  • Can you consider working in a new department?

If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

  • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
  • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
  • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

How to Make a Career Change Successfully

The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

1. Write a Career Plan

A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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You can learn how to set your career plan here.

2. Weigh Your Options

If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

  • Economic factors
  • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
  • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
  • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
  • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

    A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

    4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

    A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

    • What is required to be successful in the role?
    • What certification or educational development is needed?
    • What are the challenges of the role?
    • Is there potential for career advancement?

    A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

    Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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    5. Research Salary

    Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

    It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

    6. Be Realistic

    If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

    For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

    Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

    7. Volunteer First

    A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

    Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

    Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

    8. Prepare Your Career Tools

    I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

    • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
    • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
    • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
    • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

    Bottom Line

    It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

    Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

    More About Career Change

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
    [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
    [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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