How to take a career break without quitting your job

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A career break is the dream scenario for many but engineering it is easier said than done. In reality, the trajectory can often take people from school, to university and then straight into working life. It was the sensible thing to do, right? There’s bills and rent to pay. Yet there’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. And more to life than routine and responsibility.

Whether you dream of hiking through the Amazon in Peru or re-centering yourself on the islands of Bali, taking time out can be beneficial to your mental health, as well as your performance at work. That’s where a sabbatical comes in. A period of time totally free of your working duties to do whatever you’ve always wanted, with the added satisfaction of job security for when you return. So, how to organize time out without quitting your job?

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Breaking from your routine can spark a new passion for life

If sabbaticals are a no go, then one of the easiest ways to press pause is to simply to go on a trip. Forget week-long getaways that are over as soon as you begin to unwind. What burnt out professionals need is a proper two week or longer break from the world of work. This means saving up your annual leave (and your pennies) or looking at ways to maximise your PTO and taking the plunge with booking an adventure.

Breaking from your routine and waking up somewhere new can spark a fresh passion for life and release your inner adventurer, returning home a brighter version of yourself – with amazing memories to boot. Just make sure to book it around public holidays to squeeze every last ounce of adventure.

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Use this time to fully recharge your batteries

In the world of career breaks, a sabbatical can be too long, yet an extended holiday just too short. If this is you then there’s always the option of taking some unpaid leave to find that lovely middle ground.

The best way to do this is to save up your annual leave and then add on a chunk of time away from your office where you’re not paid. It can be a risky move, both in terms of financial stability and job security yet, providing you’re organized and open with your employers, it can be totally worthwhile. Use this time to fully recharge your batteries, do something entirely different and explore the big wide world.

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Your workplace will have a policy on how long you can take

Once you’re inspired with new dreams and aspirations, it’s time to wrangle the time off work with your employers. Your workplace will have a policy regarding how long you can take and what you’re entitled to. For certain breaks, like sabbaticals, you usually need to have worked a certain amount of time and it’s important to check if any of your benefits will be suspended.

But approaching this requires being tactical. Requesting sabbaticals, extended holiday and unpaid leave is not always well received, so you need to present your case positively. Particularly for sabbaticals and gap years, it’s important to arrange a meeting with your manager and outline all the benefits to them.

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The key is to be totally clear and focused on why it’s so important

Be prepared with information about your career plans, travel itinerary and the new skills you could bring back to the company. From new languages and enhanced communication skills to overseas charity work, the key is to be totally clear and focused on why it’s so important.

The impact of work burnout is worth considering as a way of approaching how a career break will be beneficial to your employer. If necessary, be proactive in lining up cover for whilst you’re away and, if possible, plan your break during a quieter time of year for the company. Thinking of these factors will show your plans are totally considered with no stone left unturned.

Thinking of taking a career break in your 30s or 40s? Join Flash Pack today to go on an adventure with other like-minded travelers.

Got a story or adventure that could inspire a solo traveler like you? Tag @flashpack on social or email [email protected] to be featured.

Images: Flash Pack 

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