Maybe you’re at the breaking point with work, or maybe you’re just unsatisfied with life, wondering what else there is out there. Possibly you feel stagnant, curious or confused. It’s not uncommon for people to settle into a routine they’re not truly happy with, doing what they think they’re supposed to. The truth is, however, if you’re not happy with what you’re doing, it may be time for a change.
To be more specific, it may be time for a career break.
For those interested but wondering how to go about this, here are some essential tips for taking a pause from your job to see the world and grow your relationship with yourself.
Before taking action, answer the essential questions. Why do you want to take a career break? What do you hope to achieve? How can you make your time off have a lasting impact on your life even after you go back to work? These answers likely won’t come quickly, and shouldn’t be rushed. Meditate on it, sleep with a journal near your bed to quickly jot down dream clarity, talk to yourself and reach out to those living the life you wish you were living right now.
Keep in mind, seeing the world doesn’t have to be endless days of hot tubs, hammocks and margaritas. You can grow personally, develop skills through work and internships abroad and volunteer with local organizations. Think about your goals for the career break and what you could do along the way to accomplish them.
During this process, push away all negative thoughts of self-doubt and remember that nothing is out of reach if you want it bad enough.
In 2015, taking a career break isn’t as unusual as it once was. Do a search on Google or browse your local library and you’ll come across numerous resources for helping make the transition easier. First of all, there are a number of online courses that teach you how to plan and execute a worthwhile career break, such as Plan Your Career Break in 30 Daysby Meet Plan Go and a Career Change Toolkitand online workshop from Careershifters.
There are also a number of in-depth books -- like Dream Save Do: An Action Plan for Dreamers Like You, The Career Break Traveler’s Handbook and Lonely Planet’s The Career Break Book.
Reading travel blogs about fearless individuals living the life on the path less traveled, whether for a career break or otherwise, can also inspire you and show you other possible lifestyles that may better suit you. Almost all of RoamRight's writers have their own travel blogs. Start following them today!
One of the scariest parts about taking a career break - and going against societal norms in general - is feeling like you’re all alone, like you’re crazy or irresponsible. Of course you’re not (otherwise we wouldn’t be writing this article); however, finding a community of like-minded individuals always helps make the transition easier. Start by browsing Meet Plan Go, a website chock full of resources and tips. Even better, they host events and local meetups around the United States, typically with inspirational speakers so you can learn from seasoned career breakers as well as those just looking to do it themselves.
Another tip is to join Meetup.com, a platform allowing people to create and join groups and plan and attend events in their community. Search to see if there is a career break, sabbatical or travel group in your area or, if there’s not, start one yourself.
If you don’t hate your job but are just looking for a break, ask your employer if the company has a formal sabbatical policy, or if they would be open to holding your position for a certain amount of time until you return. You may also want to pitch your trip to be beneficial to the company in some way. Even if it’s just for your own personal mental health, tell your employer you’re looking to hone your skills, learn new languages and come back reinvigorated with new ideas.
Traveling abroad for six months to a year doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but it also shouldn’t put you in debt. The easiest way to create your budget is to start by thinking about what expenses you’ll need to take care of at home while away: loans, your mortgage or rent, any debt, insurance policies. Next, think about your lifestyle. Are you okay staying in hostels - many of which now have private rooms - and budget hotels, or do you need luxury? How often would you like to eat out verses cook for yourself? Tip: Opting for accommodation or renting local apartments with kitchens can help you save a lot of money on food.
Become familiar with classic budget travel tipsand plan how you can incorporate these into your trip. You might also think about where you can cut corners - for example, getting around by bike instead of public transportation and cabs - and spending more time in destinations where your dollar stretches further, such as Thailand and Slovenia instead of Japan and Sweden.
If you can’t stomach the thought of not bringing in any income during your career break, take on some part time remote work - like freelance writing, managing a company’s social media accounts, or remote selling - or ask your job if you can work remotely for them. Remember, though, you’re taking a career break, so spending your time in Europe hunched over a computer 40 hours a week isn’t the ideal situation.
Have you ever considered a career break?
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Jessica Festa is a full-time travel writer who is always up for an adventure. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia and doing orphanage work in Ghana. You can follow her adventures on her travel websites, Epicure & Culture and Jessie On A Journey. You can also connect with Jessica directly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or follow her epicurean adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
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