What is A Career Break And Why Do You Need One?

what is a career break?

A career break or sabbatical as some people like to call it may not be the status quo, however, if you’re in a rut or are burnt out from work, it may be just what you need. But what is a career break and how can it help you?

You’re supposed to get an education, work your fingers to the bone, buy a house, raise a family and pay off your student loans while stashing money away like a squirrel. All so you can retire comfortably by the age of 65.

If you’re lucky, you’ll still be in good health and finally, have the time to do some of those things you put off for later.


Well, kind of right but mostly wrong!

You might be interested in reading How To Change Careers When You Don’t Know What To Do

What’s the point of waiting?

If you’ve worked for any length of time, you know that working like a dog until you’re 65 is not always sustainable. Sooner or later you get burnt out or bored with the monotony of your daily routine.

What if you get into an accident or hit by a car and die tomorrow? it happened to my father the year before he turned 65. Or your health deteriorates and you become physically incapable of doing the things you want to do when you reach the age of 65 and older?

That’s where a career break comes in (sometimes people call it a sabbatical).

I’m not saying to completely abandon your values and throw good sense to the wind but life was meant to be lived as you are living it not when you turn 65 and not just once a year for your annual two-week vacation.

So what is a career break?

A career break is an extended period of time where you STOP working to do something worthwhile, new, exciting or different.  A career break gives you the time you need to recharge your batteries so that when you do go back to work and your normal routine, you are refreshed, enriched and hopefully with a better perspective and outlook on life.

Think of a career break as a detour on the road of life where you stop the car and take an alternate more scenic route to your destination while enjoying the sights along the way.

The term career break is closely related to the following terms with slight differences but for the most part, can be used interchangeably. 

How Long Is A Career Break

Depending on who you talk to, some say a career break is between one month and two even three years long.  The time you take off will depend on a lot of different factors and your unique situation such as your financial situation, your goals, whether you have a family, kids etc.

What Can You Do On A Career Break

Career breaks are not just about taking time off for the sake of it. A career break can be life-changing if used as a personal development tool.

Some things you can do on a career break are…

  • Travel
  • Live abroad (That is how we ended up in France)
  • Volunteer, Volunteer abroad
  • Learn (language, ski or sailing instructor, for example)
  • TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language)
  • Raise kids
  • Start a business
  • Train for a marathon,
  • Learn a new hobby (painting, pottery, sewing)
  • Training or education to staying up-to-date with professional skills
  • Go back to school (get an advanced degree)
  • Recover from an accident or illness.
  • Look after a dependent
  • Spend more quality time with your family.
  • Write a novel 
  • Yada Yada Yada
You might be interested in reading, 101 Simple Adventures You Can Do Every day: Bust Out Of That Rut

The downside to Career Breaks

Unfortunately, in order to enjoy a career break, you will most likely have to quit your job and find a new one when you return to the workforce. What that means is that you will have to save enough money to sustain your life for the duration of your break, plus have enough to do the activity that you want to do and support yourself during the time when you look for a new job. ( unless you’ve negotiated with your employer to hold your job for you when you return).

How To Take A Career Break?

Every year hundreds of thousands of people around the world take career breaks.

With a little planning, you can take one too.

15 ways to save money for your career break or sabbatical

Here is my journey taking career breaks and sabbaticals

Our story of taking a sabbatical to live in France for a year

Below is a video which talks about the “Power of time off”. You should watch it!!

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