What is a Career Break?

Are you blackburried? Tired of looking at your cube walls, and wondering why you put yourself through endless corporate politics, meetings, and paperwork?

You are at the right place; you may need a career break! Here we give you permission to break away; from the career that is sucking your energy and the social norms which direct you to delay your happiness until retirement. Pack your bags, hop a plane, and see the world; change your perspective, reignite, focus, and add to your skill sets with a traveling career break.

What is Career Break Travel?

A career break is simply dedicated time away from your job. It may be something that is planned for or something that is unforeseen. It can be from 1 month to 3 years. Anything shorter than a month really falls into the glorified vacation bucket. There are a few things that make a career break unique; namely that you should have a career that you are breaking away from. This puts the typical career break age range from 27 to 57 years old. Younger, and it might be considered a Gap Year and older it may be considered retirement. When people add the element of globe trotting to their break, then it’s career break travel. It may mean that you tick off a bucket list, travel around the world, or simply go live as an expat in another country. Basically, it’s about shaking up your normal routine in a big way with your passport in hand.

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Career Break Myths

Excuses, excuses, we’ve heard them all. And they are all there to rationalize your fear and result in keeping you cemented to the life you think you have to live.

Myth #1: “It’s too expensive, you must be rich”

You don’t have to have a trust fund; it is possible to take a break if you don’t have much money saved. And it’s certainly possible to save money in order to take a career break no matter what your circumstances. In fact, it’s never too early to start.

Some people plan and save for several years and you can also get travel costs from those who have come before you. A key place to start is to determine roughly how much you will need to travel around the world. You may realize that you may have to change some of your spending habits, but if you really want the career break bad enough, you will find a way to start saving. It’s about priorities.

If you are ready to hit the road sooner than later but don’t quite have the budget you’d like, you may want to consider working and living abroad as part of the adventure. Just ask Lisa Lubin who worked her way around the world while she was taking a break from her television producer job. Though keep in mind it is a break – so don’t let the work aspect consume all your time!

Myth #2: “A gap on my resume will ruin my career”

A career break doesn’t equal career suicide. In fact, it will even help your career. You will build skills you can put on your resume such as confidence, patience and smart risk-taking. And a break will allow you the time to reflect on where your career is to date, how it may have gotten off track, and how to refocus on what it is you really want to do. Just read what Michael Bontempi had to say about his three month break and how it improved his career.

Brian Peters advises that “It’s also important not to burn any bridges as you leave one job or career for another. The same people you work with now will be your best points of contact if you decide to come home and look for work. If they like you and trust you, they will keep their eyes and ears open.” That is exactly what helped Bill Peterson find a job in two short months in the Semiconductor industry that he left for his 14 month career break. During those months, he kept up on industry news and worked to keep his network alive.

Myth #3: “It’s not safe to travel abroad”

The reality is that we live in a society that focuses so heavily on the negative (especially in the news), so safety is a valid concern when traveling abroad for any length of time. But most places are only as dangerous as the situations you place yourself in. “Like many places in the States, as long as you keep your wits about you and make smart, common sense decisions (keep an eye on your stuff, don’t wander off down a dark alley alone or go to notoriously bad neighborhoods at night), you’re likely going to be just as safe abroad as you are at home,” says Jennifer Baggett.

For many women, safety may be their biggest concern. But just look at all of the women traveling, like Barbara Weibel of Hole in the Donut, Janice Waugh of Solo Traveler, Marie Elena Martinez of Marie’s World, The Lost Girls, and Sherry Ott of OttsWorld. Of course it’s not a bad idea to reference the US Department of State International Travel Information, but note that if you look at the US Travel Warnings, be sure to compare them to warnings from the UK, and Australia for other world perspectives.

Myth #4: “I can’t travel because I have a family”

We can tell you without wavering that it is possible to travel with family. It’s just that you may not personally know anyone who has taken a career break with their family and traveled the world. Let us introduce you to Rainer Jenss who took his family around the world. Or the Cooney’s who pulled their 3 sons out of high school for homeschool and an education of world travel. Or Family on Bikes who took the ultimate biking trip on the Pan-American Highway from Alaska to Argentina with their 2 boys.

Remember, for every myth out there, there is someone who has dispelled them. You may not know them personally, but know you are in amazing company.

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Benefits of Career Breaks

Career break benefits are numerous. Most importantly getting away is essential for effective thinking. Combine your career break with travel and reap even more benefits. Exposure to cultures that function differently from our own – from language to social customs to public transport – awakens the brain, alerting it to a much broader range of possibilities for being, living, and creating. You will come back to the workforce with skills other peers won’t have. And you will stand out in a positive way.

What to do on Career Break

The obvious answer is to do what you always wanted to do and go see what you dreamed of seeing. Sometimes what you need is to grow your experiences and develop skills outside of the workforce. Career Breakers volunteer, do cultural exchange, learn a language or new skill like sailing or teaching; but most importantly slow down and chill. Clear your mind, forget about the rat race, and open up a side of you that you have probably never met before.

But if you need more ideas then stop by Career Break Secrets who offer career break video guides. There will give you a real look at a region of the world and what you can do there from a career break perspective.

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Career Break Resources

If you are merely intrigued with the idea of career break travels or are salivating to take one, there are a growing number of resources to help you plan and prepare for a career break. They come in many different forms with different levels of your commitment and involvement required.

Basic Training – As an online travel course and community, Basic Training connects you with reliable resources, expert voices, and like-minded peers – all of which will lead you to getting on a plane and taking a career break.

Bootsnall RTW travel and forums – A chance to communicate in an active forum to ask one off questions and get up to date advice.

Meet, Plan, Go! Events – If you are tired of digital, then come on out in person and meet career break travel experts

Escape 101 Book – Like to get your information in paperback form? Then check this out!

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Career Break Guide Table of Contents