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.
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?
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.
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.
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.