When you find yourself at a crossroads, choosing between furthering your career and stalling it for a while, what would you choose?
Taking a career break might seem like career suicide, but it can be the best thing that’s ever happened to you. Once you feel ready to reintegrate yourself into the workforce, you’ll feel more rejuvenated, more driven and more inspired to work your way to the top.
Whether you were a nurse for a hospital recruitment firm taking a break to raise a family, or simply someone who is in-between jobs for a while, you need to make the most of your situation and bounce back to become stronger, better than ever before.
Here are some ideas on how you can use your career break to the fullest.
Hone Your Skills
Just because you’re at home feeding a baby or just lounging around doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new. With the Internet being more accessible now more than ever, you can hone your career edge. Keep your certifications in check. Learn the latest trends and topics surrounding your field. Or go to graduate school and take your Masters’. You might not know yet when you’ll get back, but once you do, you’ll be ready for the job like it was just yesterday.
Learn Something New
If you’re looking to shift to a new career path or run a business instead, then maybe it’s time for you to learn something new. Enroll into new classes in technical schools or online class providers. Or finish schooling like you’ve promised yourself. Another way is to follow what you’re most passionate about. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to properly cook, then enroll in a cooking school. Get into a graphic arts course if you’ve got the knack for it. Chase your passion with new vigor.
Take Care of Yourself
Maybe it’s time for that long-awaited long vacation. Take care of your mental health on your time off—take some time for yourself. Talk to a specialist and find about what’s draining your mental state. Visit your old friends and family; catch up to what they’ve been doing. Surround yourself with people who would support and help you as you recover.
Instead of thinking about 9-5, your job now is to get better.
Dip Your Toes in the Workforce
Sometimes, it’s difficult to let go of the tether and the financial security a job brings. Consider a short-time job. Teach English as a Second Language to children abroad. Or find a freelance writing job while on a break. No deadlines to catch; no workplace drama to deal with. But you still gain money and valuable experience.
Gain New Perspectives
Use your break as a way to see the world differently. Travel and see how different people’s culture is to yours. Volunteer in charities and gain a new understanding of people’s struggles and situations. Put yourself in the shoes of other people; change and disrupt your perspective so you can learn to empathize more with the world around you.
All the experiences listed here can give you an edge in a job interview when you choose to reintegrate yourself into the workforce. Just because you took a leave doesn’t mean you can’t do anything meaningful. Get the most out of your situation and make a difference while you’re at it. You’ll be refreshed and driven once you’re back.