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gap yearAccording to Dan Celements and Tara Gignac, authors of Escape 101: The Four Secrets to Taking a Sabbatical or Career Break Without Losing Your Money or Your Mind, a career break (extended time off from work, usually lasting anywhere between six months and two years) helps employees to face challenges better, solve problems and be more productive at work.

You can either take a career gap by leaving your present job, or if possible, by taking an unpaid leave of absence.

Factor in the following if you are considering taking a career gap:

Evaluate. An extended break will give you time to reenergise mentally and physically, be more creative and come up with innovative ideas. Research indicates that organisations which incorporate career breaks in their culture have a satisfied and engaged workforce and lower turnover rates.

Plan. Give yourself at least six months to plan the break. This will ensure you have time to determine if you have the financial security to map out your dream holiday, pursue a hobby or volunteer for a cause. Remember, an idle break is more likely to depress rather than reenergise you.

Develop your skills. Use this time to acquire a professional certification or enrol in an academic programme that will add to your knowledge base. This will help you move up the management ladder quickly. By using the ‘break’ productively, you will be able to justify the career gap on your resume.

Reflect. The break may give you the opportunity to compare your career status to your professional goals; you can decide if your career path is your true calling and whether your present job is nurturing your talent or not. Do a self analysis, determine what kind of work you want to do and then invest time and effort in successfully transforming your passion into your profession.

– Zeeshan Lakhpaty

The writer is a professional corporate trainer and international speaker. zeeshan@peopleexcellence.biz

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on February 1, 2015.

            

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