Articles, Blog

53 Taking a career break

November 9, 2019


The Career Break site
is an online company that helps people to organize
a career break or sabbatical. The company was set up
by Rachel Morgan-Trimmer. The Career Break site was set up
in 2005 after I found that, when I took a career break I couldn’t
find any useful information to help me. The site offers a great deal
of career break information. What services
do you offer? If you wanted
to take a career break, you would come
to my website and on there you would find
lots of different options for taking
a career break, all the different
things you can do, um, such as volunteering or,
or travelling, or whatever it might be. But as well as that, you would also find
things like what to do with your house; are you going to rent it out,
um; what to do with your car; what sorts of things you might
need to take on a career break; where to go for more help and there are
some other things that we do as well, for example; we’ll do a talk about
career breaks, um, at a travel show, so somebody who is perhaps
thinking about taking a career break but doesn’t know where to start can come
to one of those talks and get an idea of, of what it involves
and what you can do and so on. What can people do
on a career break? Well, the… the sorts of things
they can do can be broadly divided into volunteering,
paid work abroad, travel, TEFL and learning,
so within learning for example, you might have
a ski instructor course or somebody might go to learn a language
in the country that it’s spoken. For volunteering
the opportunities are endless, pretty much any job you can do
as a day job you can do as a volunteer, so it might be
something very basic such as building a school or
it might be something quite specific, um, for example, helping out at
a human rights law firm in South Africa. With regard to travelling
some people travel on their own and some people will go
on group travel as well, because it enables people
to go to more adventurous places but still in a way
that is very safe. What are the benefits
of taking a career break? There are lots of benefits
to taking a career break; we tend to divide them into personal
benefits and professional benefits. On the personal side
you’ve got things like um, obviously you’re going to make
a lot of friends on your career break, sometimes those are going
to be lifelong friends; you’re going to have a great
experience and great memories and so on and the one big thing
that career breakers tell us, it’s very important is that they develop
a lot of confidence on their career break, often because
they’re travelling on their own and they’re doing
something different. On the professional side
some of the professional benefits you get from a career break
include soft skills, and what we mean by soft skills
are things like communication skills, um, being part of a team,
leadership, solving problems and whether you volunteer
or do paid work or, or teach English – you’re going to be
developing those soft skills often in a way that
you can’t do in your normal job. So when you come back
from your career break, whether you come back
to the same job or start a new job you’ve got new skills
that you can use in that job and employers tell us
now that soft skills are actually more important
than academic qualifications. How do companies react to
their staff taking career breaks? I think it depends
on the company itself whether or not they’re going to be
receptive to the idea of a sabbatical. For example, a smaller company
might feel they have more flexibility but on the other hand
they might feel that they can’t lose somebody
for that period of time. I think it really depends on
the culture of the company and also on your relationship
with your boss and your um,
HR manager and so on.

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