Why Not Take a Career Break?

More and more people are looking for a more fulfilling lifestyle and as a result, it's not unusual to take a career break, which could be a bit like an adult gap year - a chance to do something new and different. A career break could be just what you need if you want a change.

So if you want a career change, but have no idea what you'd like to do, you could consider something completely different from any job you have done in the past. You don't have to abandon your career completely - just take some time out to try something new.

You could take a short career break, for example 6 months or a year out, the adult equivalent of a gap year, if you will, to broaden your horizons, and open up some new ideas, have some exciting experiences and gain a new perspective on life.

It is possible that if you follow this strategy, you could end up in a totally different career or could decide that what you've been doing so far is what you really want. Alternatively, you might want to keep some aspects of the old career and add a few new skills and activities, to form a career which is different in some ways. The point is to have fun and in the process make a few discoveries about both yourself and the world of work.

What sort of thing could you do during your career break? If you think about it, you can probably come up with a list of things you've always secretly wanted to have a go at, not necessarily radically different, dramatic or unusual (although they might be all of those!) - the main thing is that they are not part of your present routine. And of course you must want to do them, and I mean really want to do them, not just think you should do them.

What could you to that would make work more interesting? It isn't always possible to get permission to take a sabbatical, but you should at least ask. A friend of mine did this and is looking forward to six months travel later this year. And he's got a job to come back to. What can you do if a long break isn't possible? Money is usually a big obstacle to change. Make a list of viable alternatives. If you are ready to give up your job, but still need to earn an income, you could consider taking a TEFL course and then teaching English abroad.

Make a list of careers you think you might prefer and then do some background research to find out more. then make a shortlist of possibilities. You could then do some voluntary work in the areas which interest you.

Or sign up for a course in continuing education at night school or a distance education course to learn some of the skills required for your preferred jobs. These activities will help you decide if you're ready for a change, and if the change you have in mind is right for you.

Another idea is to take up something new in your spare time and aim to become very good at it. Getting to grips with a new skill, even if it seems to bear no relationship to work can give you a fresh perspective on life.

Or another idea is to take up something you used to enjoy but no longer make time for. You could try out several things and then opt for an activity you really love and make it a priority to reach a high level of skill.