October 16, 2011 @ 2:01 pm - posted by Liz

We are often asked, What is a Career Break or Sabbatical leave? Career Breaks are also commonly known as a Sabbatical or even as Gap Year for Grown Ups. We’ve even come across the term ‘Adult Gap Year’. For the sake of this Blog, a Career Break or  Sabbatical leave is a period when you take time out of work to pursue the things you’ve always dreamed of doing but never quite had the time to achieve. Yet!!

How people spend their Career Break or Sabbatical leave is as varied as they are. Most of us will already have some idea what it is we want to achieve. How many hours have we spent day dreaming at work? Now that you have committed to the idea of a Career Break or sabbatical and it’s no longer some distant dream, you need to consider your options. The last thing you want to do is squander this golden opportunity.

Each of us has something we’ve always wanted to do but for whatever reason never got round to tackling.  A Career Break or Sabbatical frees you up to finally achieve those things you value most in life. The important thing is to identify what it is you want to do. List your goals and apply a little ‘Blue Sky’ thinking to help you identify what you want to achieve. Write down all the ideas you hold dear, no matter how crazy they may seem.

Some of the many things people have done include:

  • Learning to cook (We’ve all seen the movie)
  • Ride a Harley Davidson across America (this is still on my to do list)
  • Creative pursuits such as Painting, Writing and Photography.
  • Yoga, Meditation or Martial Arts.
  • Deep Sea fishing and diving.
  • Volunteer and help others

When you are writing your list, you may experience a eureka moment when you suddenly realise what it is you really want, but as soon as this initial euphoria begins to wear off, the road ahead can seem overwhelming.

To help you overcome these challenges, we will post regular articles on specific topics and subjects that will help you both clarify your aims and achieve your goals.  Don’t panic this won’t require military style planning and logistics, you don’t even have to do much travel if you don’t want to.

A Career Break or Sabbatical doesn’t mean taking time out to do just one thing.  Meditation is still on my to do list and I can’t imagine a more spiritual place to learn than an Ashram in India. So clearly it would be madness to plan such a trip all the way to India solely for this purpose and not take the opportunity to explore one of the worlds most colourful and vibrant countries. Whilst there, I could also do some voluntary work, helping those less fortunate than ourselves. By now you’ll be getting the picture of how your  Career Break is no longer about achieving a single goal but can be expanded to include a number of life changing experiences and remember, a Career Break doesn’t have to be exotic to be life changing.

If travel is part of your plan, how you travel can have an big impact on your journey. It’s all so simple to jump on a plane these days but have you considered some of the alternatives. Liz’s Mum took a round the world trip on a working ship, stopping off to explore wherever they docked to load/unload cargo. A favourite is Mike who took a job in Australia but rather than fly he took a three month Career Break and travelled for the most part by train including the world’s longest train journey, from Lisbon in Portugal to Saigon in Vietnam. Now that would be an adventure. In short there are loads of opportunities to use your time exactly as you wish and gain memorable experiences along the way.

In our increasingly demanding world and ever more competitive workplace, travel is actually one of the best things you can do to boost your career skills and to develop both as a person, and as a professional. The skills acquired and improved on during a Career Break or Sabbatical can improve your skill set and make you even more desirable to future employers when you return from your Career Break.

We will also include regular guest posts from the experts covering a whole host of subjects from dealing with HR to travelling with children and motivational techniques to help you along the way.  In addition, we will feature a variety of inspirational speakers who have been there and successfully done it for themselves.

Why we created this site

The idea of a Career Break or Sabbatical leave was unknown to us and probably still is to many, but some 90,000 people in the UK are set to trade in their parking permit for a passport and join the three million workers who have already taken a Career Break or Sabbatical over the past five years. According to new research from Direct Line Insurance, Wanderlust is the main reason why people are packing their bags – 43 per cent having always wanted to go travelling. However, one in three workers planning a sabbatical say they are looking to take a Career Break from the rat race (30 per cent) and one in four claim to be suffering from burn out.

Since our return to the UK, we have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have said to us that “ We have always wanted to do something like that” and “I just wish I could be as adventurous as you” Sadly these comments are usually followed by a list of the reasons why they can’t. Work, Children, Mortgage, Family etc etc….

Nothing unusual in that you may say, but what has surprised us is that the majority of these people are highly motivated and successful professionals in all other areas of their lives; but, when it comes to achieving their life long goals, fear and self doubt seem to stop them at the first hurdle.

Lets face it, embarking on the unknown is scary.  This is why we have set up this blog to help you reach your goal. The reality is that there is nothing to fear but like anything worth achieving in life, it does take a commitment.


About Liz

At the age of 39, Liz quit the 'Corporate World', downsized her life and followed her heart. Upon her return she set up CareerBreak360 with Robert to help others achieve their Career Break dreams.

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