A friend of mine recently made an announcement on her Facebook page: after several years of climbing the ladder in publishing, she’s decided to take some time off to pursue other things — travel, writing, maybe an advanced degree.
While her decision may seem like something only a recent grad would have the flexibility to do, taking a break to find a new direction is more common than you may think. It’s not the kind of decision to be taken lightly, however, so keep the following things in mind.
- Check your finances: Examine your financial situation to determine if you have the flexibility to take time away from work, and, if so, how long you can afford to be away. If you need to, consider a part-time or freelance job during your hiatus.
- Think about who your decision affects: Chances are, you’re not the only person your decision will be impacting. Talk the decision over with your spouse, family, or housemates, and be ready to adjust your plan based on their input.
To see four more crucial things to consider if a hiatus is in your future, just
- Be prepared to make sacrifices: Whether you decide to work part-time during your hiatus or not at all, you’re probably going to have to make some cuts to your expenditures. Before you make the decision to take time off, think about whether you’re willing to cut back, and if so, where.
- Set goals for your time off: What you don’t want is for your hiatus to become one long Summer vacation. Think about what you want to accomplish during your time off, and set mini goals for yourself. Do you want to take classes toward another degree? See at least three different countries?
- Set an end date: In the same vein, you don’t want your hiatus to stretch out ahead of you indefinitely — and you probably can’t afford for it to. Set a date when you’ll resume working full-time again, which could be in a year, or in six weeks.
- Prepare yourself for re-entering the workplace: Whether you plan on returning to your current field or starting a new career, you’ll need to explain the gap on your resume. Doing volunteer work or coursework during your hiatus will give you something to show for your time away and smooth your transition back to full-time work.