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All of us, at some point in life, have wanted a break — a break from studies or family responsibilities, or a break to look after our health. But when it comes to work, we’re absolutely averse to the idea of taking a career break. The very thought of ‘quitting’ is dreadful, so we choose to drag along the beaten path for as long as we can, no matter how much we hate it.

Most of us are in our 20s and 30s and have worked for an average of five to six years, sometimes more. Isn’t it natural to want a break from work? Now, we’re not talking about a weekend getaway, rather, a properly planned career break that can run into months or years.

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Quitting your job doesn’t make you a quitter in life. So ignore the people who raise their eyebrows, and more importantly, have faith in your decision.

If you feel you need this kind of a break, go for it without any fear or guilt. Read on to understand why.

Sabbatical vs Career Break

Although these terms are used interchangeably, don’t confuse a career break with a sabbatical. A sabbatical is an agreed-upon leave for ‘x’ months, where the company gives you the option to return to work after the break, pretty much like a maternity leave.

A career break, on the other hand, is a break for any amount of time decided by you, and often requires you to resign.

Considering not many Indian companies have a sabbatical policy (barring some, such as Infosys and Deloitte), you’re left with only the second option.

A career break is great because it gives you the time for some soul-searching. What do you want in life? Do you want to come back and explore a new role, a new company, or maybe start your own business?

The Fear of Taking a Break

Many questions will cross your mind: Will you get a good opportunity after the break? Will your ‘market value’ reduce? Will you miss out on the industry developments and lag behind?

To be honest, these questions are only for cynics. As long as you have arranged for some finances to sustain yourself and have clearly thought about the reasons for taking a break, you needn’t worry about anything else.

Let’s hear it from someone who’s currently on a career break after having worked for 13 long years.

Marcom specialist Shilpi Mahajan says, “My break was a decision taken for my son. And it has become a long one now. It was a tough call, and it took me a while to adjust to becoming a stay-at-home mom. However, I didn’t want to under-perform my role as a mother too, and that’s what helped my decision.

“I feel your reason for taking the break should stay right on the top of your mind to help keep your fears at bay. Life never stops, it only pauses. You can always start afresh.”

Making the Most of Your Time

There are many great things you can do with the time you have carved out for yourself. Consider travelling to another country and volunteering – meet new people and open your mind to new ideas.

Get back to fitness, join a hobby class, or simply ponder over your next steps in life. It’s all about planning right! At the same time, you can also take up some freelance gigs and earn a few extra bucks.

As writer-blogger Prerna Vij shares, “After working for six years in media companies, I decided to take a year-long break. Visiting the US East Coast opened my heart and I also started reassessing my career goals. I realised that I don’t need to go back to a typical corporate job. Today, I’m a full-time blogger and soon starting my own venture.”

So go on, take that break, and look forward to a brand new you with better energy and clearer goals.

Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar

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