Is It Time for a Career Break?
All of us eventually reach a point in our careers where we’d like nothing more than a few days—or weeks—or months—off work.
There are plenty of reasons why; you might have family issues to attend to, like a new baby. Or maybe you’re dealing with a chronic illness and need some downtime to recuperate. Heck, maybe you’re just fed up with your job and need a little time to decompress.
It’s perfectly normal. And fortunately, thanks to the rise of remote working, telecommuting, and flexible work options, these opportunities are becoming easier to find. In fact, more companies are beginning to see the value in giving their employees a break and are actually ordering them to take brief sabbaticals as part of their job. Data published in the HBR showed that 17% of U.S. businesses offered some type of sabbatical for their workers in 2017.
When Should I Break?
Now, we can’t tell you exactly when you might need a break, but we can give you some things to ask yourself before committing to one:
- Is there a specific task (volunteering, spending time with family, travelling) that I want to prioritize in my break?
- Do I have enough paid leave to cover my time? If not, am I financially secure enough to take the time?
- Are there pressing work goals that need doing in immediate future, or am I caught up?
Be mindful of what activities you plan during your time off. For example, taking a sabbatical to help your spouse take care of your new baby sounds like a great excuse to take a break, but as new parents can attest, caring for a newborn isn’t exactly a vacation! You might find that you’re just as stressed when you come back as when you left.
This is important to note. Even though HBR’s research showed that those who took sabbaticals had lower stress and a better sense of overall well-being, you won’t get these benefits from a stressful sabbatical. Find some activities you enjoy and use the time to recharge.
Planning Your Break
So, when you know that you’re finally ready for a break, how do you proceed? We recommend the following steps:
- Obviously, speak with your supervisors and schedule an appropriate time for your sabbatical.
- As your break approaches, create a list of what you want to accomplish during your break and what you plan to do with your free time.
- Tie up any loose ends you have on any projects, and if necessary, contact your clients and let them know that you’ll be out of the office for a while.
- Start considering your re-entry plan! Business won’t stop just because you’re gone, and many of your projects will be moving along without you. Think about how you’ll start back up after your sabbatical and find a colleague who can help get you up to speed.
There’s no shame in needing a break. We’re taught that we have to always be “on”, but study after study shows the benefits of workplace breaks for our productivity, well-being, and overall health. Don’t be afraid to take some time off. As recruiters, Urgenci knows what it takes to succeed in today’s work environment—and often, it comes down to working smarter, not harder.