Career break: Everything you need to know

Career break: Everything you need to know

What is a career break?

A career break is an agreed period off from employment. It could be for familial reasons or personal or professional development. Career breaks are usually between one month and two years, although some people will initially commit to shorter breaks.


Career breaks or ‘adult gap year,’ has grown in popularity in recent years as employees attempt to create a better work-life balance. There are many reasons why people decide to take a career break, including voluntary work, travel care of relatives or children, training and development, and paid work abroad.


A related term is sabbatical. Some use the terms interchangeably although a sabbatical traditionally has religious meanings; in its strictest sense, a sabbatical lasts 12 months, drawn from passages in the bible where agricultural workers have to stop working in the fields for a year.



Why is the career break necessary?

Most people take a career break due to their lifecycle events. It could be because they feel frustrated and want a break. You might be having children to raise or older parents to take care of.


Often, people take career breaks to pursue their passion. An excellent start-up idea might strike your mind at any stage of your life, and that’s when taking a career break is essential.

Education is another prime main reason why people take career breaks. If you feel like studying for better career options or just to increase your knowledge in a domain, then you can go for career breaks.


Many people take career breaks to just enjoy their life like travelling to new places, exploring new adventures, and so on. Such breaks are essential to ensure work-efficiency.


What may come out from having a Career Break

  • Learning and developing new skills

The workplace sets limitations on the ability to learn new skills apart from what you do on a day to day basis in the workplace. When you take a break from all that is related to your work, you will have more time in exploring new things.


  • Getting Away from a Negative work Environment:

The work environment in which the person is may or may not be in positive. If certain negativity is going on in the workplace and the person identifies it then for the initial period he looks at, taking a sabbatical to move away from all the negative behaviour going on in the workplace. This helps to a great extent to not let him get influenced in the ongoing negativity in the workplace.


  • Helps improve personal relationships

Most times as a result of the overloading work that an individual is facing at the workplace the relationship with their friends, the family is distanced. So the idea of taking a break or sabbatical from work is an excellent idea to once again start spending time with the family members and spending time with the children and taking an interest and active participation in their individual lives.

  • You become idle

When you are thinking about taking a break from your usual job, you also have to consider the fact that you’ll be idle at home. Yes, the family’s there to entertain you while you’re taking a sabbatical, but if you’re a busy person, you will find this boring since your schedule will be empty.


  • Costly in the long run

When you decide to take a break, you may not initially think of this but doing so would be expensive on your end. When you’re the breadwinner, since you’re taking a break from the office, that means that you’re not getting any cent for the meantime. So where, will you get your everyday expenses? More like in your savings, right?


  • Slow career progress

When you’re taking a break from your job, your progress in your workplace will be still. This problem is common for those who are candidates for promotion. You’re not losing the progress that you acquired over time though; it’s just more like in a temporary freeze.


  • Backlog in an updated resume:

Due to time year gap, the employer tries to select the individuals who are always keeping to their work experience. The employer always looks for an individual who does not have any time year gap in the CV recorded. The resume is an important factor in recruitment so a career gap will not lay a good impression on the employer who is hiring an employee for the organization.


A career break is a necessity but it also comes with disadvantages which can give a great impact on professional life negatively or positively. It is always suggested to put a lot of thought into taking a break because it can give a long term downfall in career life.



Munodiwa Zvemhara is a consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.

Phone +263 4 481946-48/481950/2900276/2900966

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Munodiwa Zvemhara
This article was written by Munodiwa a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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