Taking a career break can seem daunting at first, but it could be one of the best decisions you ever make. Career-wise, a break could help you to up-skill, find motivation, or even set you off on a whole new path. And that’s not to mention the personal benefits to your overall wellbeing and sense of self-worth.
Your career break or sabbatical could be anything from a couple of months to more than a year. The number of people taking breaks later in life is increasing, and they’re doing it for all sorts of reasons, from mental health, to learning a language, to simply seeing the world. And you may be surprised to discover that career breaks are actually encouraged by some employers.
So book your flights, rent out your home, and take the plunge. Here are 10 reasons why we think you should.
1. SEE THE WORLD
Did you miss out on taking a gap year when you were younger? Or do you simply want to travel and explore? Seeing more of the world is one of the most popular reasons for taking a career break, yet some people find it hard to justify.
To us, it’s a no-brainer. With the average UK person working for more than 40 years of their life, a career break seems like a drop in the ocean. We think it’s something everyone should experience. At least once, if not more.
2. MASTER A PASSION
If you’ve ever fancied yourself as a photographer, or dreamed of being an expert at something like surfing, snowboarding or sailing, now’s your chance.
When you’re working nine-to-five, it’s hard to dedicate time to new hobbies but a career break could see you progressing from ‘zero to hero’ in a matter of months. You could even go all the way to instructor level with specialist courses that train you with professional qualifications, such as our ski instructor courses and snowboard instructor courses.
Finding a hobby that you truly enjoy and excel at will not only give you a huge sense of purpose and accomplishment, but also set you up for a better work-life balance when you return home.
3. LEARN NEW SKILLS
Use your career break to gain practical experience and skills that could help you get a promotion, transfer to a new role, or enter a whole new world of work.
For example, you could lead a team of volunteers, oversee an expedition, or qualify as a ski patroller. A paid job like teaching English could lead to a new role in training, teaching or overseas work. And managing a bar in a ski resort would give you management and leadership skills, plus the experience to start a career in the snowsports or hospitality industry.
Experiences that push you outside of your comfort zone and broaden your horizons will set you up for success in whatever path you choose to pursue later.
4. Get perspective
Taking a break can help you to gain perspective and figure out what you really want from life. New people, places and experiences can help you to assess what’s truly important to you, what your values are, and what you believe in.
If you’re feeling unfulfilled, a step back can help you to think things through and see the bigger picture. Are you in the wrong career? Do you need a better work-life balance?
With enough time and distance, you’ll find it easier to figure out what you want from life.
5. Follow your dreams
What do you daydream about? Where do you wish you could go? What did you want to be when you were younger?
Take a break and experience that dream, with the reassurance that you can come back to your old life if things don’t work out. You could spend a winter in the mountains, become a master scuba diver, cycle across Africa, sail around the world, or simply kickback on a beach and enjoy life.
6. Look after your mental health
Depression and anxiety are a real concern in today’s society – it’s estimated that around one in four people in the UK experience mental health problems each year (mind.org.uk).
Before things start to spiral, take a break from the relentless stress and strain of daily life. For many, an extended escape to a new country can be all that’s needed to help you rebalance and reset.
7. Learn a language
Being able to speak another language is a big advantage, both personally and career-wise. There’s no better way to learn than living abroad, speaking with locals, and immersing yourself in their culture.
In-country language courses are a good way to boost your confidence and learn the basics. For the best progression, make friends with native speakers, get a part-time job in the community, and avoid spending too much time with other English speakers who will no doubt lure you away from practicing the local lingo.
8. Road-test a new career
Starting a whole new career from scratch is a big move but a career break gives you the perfect opportunity to try something out. Don’t worry about how good you’ll be or how much you’ll earn – just give yourself six months or more to get some experience, give it a go and have fun at the same time.
You could try teaching in Tanzania, train and qualify as a ski instructor, or work with animals in the Amazon. If you dream of being a freelancer, you could take a graphic design course, get into travel writing by starting a blog, or even start penning that novel you always wanted to.
9. REAFFIRM YOUR LIFE
Taking a career break doesn’t have to mean overhauling your life. In fact, for many people, a break can serve to reaffirm what they love.
Taking a step back, getting some space and recharging your batteries may make you realise just how much you enjoy your job, value your friends and love living where you do. With this fresh perspective, you could return with renewed enthusiasm for the life you left behind.
10. GIVE YOURSELF A HEALTH BOOST
Most of us spend far too much of our working lives slouched over computers. From back pain and neck strain, to arthritis and poor sight, the health impacts of inactivity are scary.
If this sounds like you, jump-start a healthier life with an active career break – do a yoga retreat in India, hike the length of New Zealand, or spend a winter season in the mountains. The health benefits will kick-in quickly, and you’ll soon notice how much better you look and feel.
Prepare to return home feeling energised, rejuvenated, and full of enthusiasm to curb your computer time and lead a healthier life.
LOOKING FOR INSPIRATION?
Every winter we're joined by guests taking a break from working life to recharge in the mountains and push their skiing or snowboarding. Discover your options with our ski courses for career breaks / snowboard course for career breaks.
We look forward to speaking with you.