How to Plan for a career break

How to prepare for a career break

People often ask me how I dare quit my job without a back up. I did it because I know how little I need to survive.

What is a career break

“A period of time during which one chooses not to work, typically in order to bring up one’s children or pursue other interests.”

As of time of publishing, I’m at the tail end of my second career break

For working adults in their mid-20s to early thirties, career breaks aren’t common, especially in Asian countries. Here, our Life Script is

  • study hard
  • get into a good university
  • obtain a degree
  • get a good job
  • get married
  • have children
  • watch the children set up their family
  • retire
  • enjoy the rest of our life finally doing the things we want

I find it strange that we place enjoying life at the very end of our journey on Earth.

Do you really want to wait until your golden years to do things you want? Will you even have the strength to do them?

Why I took my two career breaks

I’ve now taken two career breaks. One in 2013 for a year and the current one since March this year.

For the 2013 break, I wanted to go on a round-the-world trip. I had been planning for it for two years–saving and researching on destinations for my trip.

For the current break, I just really needed a break from the corporate world for a while. I went to a meditation camp, travelled to the Philippines for an improv festival and participated in a storytelling festival.

While I don’t have a full time job yet, I’m now freelancing as a digital marketer and working on this blog.

 

How to prepare for a career break

1. Know that it’s possible, plan in advance

You might be on of those people who say, “Oh, my boss won’t let me take a long break.” Or “My job really needs me.”

Have you tried negotiating with your supervisors to see how you can go for a sabbatical or career break?

Of course, you can’t spring this on your boss when you just started working there. If you’ve had worked at your firm for a few years, negotiate for a career break.

Remember, You don’t have to go on your break immediately. (You shouldn’t.) Plan at least one year in advance so you have everything at work settled before you go off.

 

2. Know what you’ll be doing during your career break

A career break shouldn’t be about just taking a break. Have activities lined up: Travel, learning new skills, work on personal projects.

You don’t want to stagnate while you’re on your leave since it lowers your self confidence in the long run.

This makes you look better in front of future employers (not to mention your parents and friends.)

 

3. Have enough savings

Calculate how much your living expenses will be without a job. Then save enough (plus more) before you go on your career break.

Most people don’t realise how little they need for long term travel. If you’re planning a career break to travel, I have a free course on how to calculate the budget of your dream trip.

Having a savings goal is a great motivation for you to save so you can go on your trip sooner.

 

4. Cut down on spending

Related to the third point, reduce your spending to only things you need.

This way you’ll slowly ease into low-spending mode which you’ll need when on a career break.

 

How much do you actually need for a career break to travel?

If you want to travel around the world, it can be done really cheap. About US$1500 to US$2500 per month depending on your travel style, says AirTreks.

Most people don’t realize how little they need for long term travel.

If you’re planning a career break to travel, I have a free course on how to calculate the budget of your dream trip. Sign up and finally get clarity on how little you need for your trip.

How to Plan for a career break

 

 

More about Liau Yun Qing

Yun Qing is a writer, improviser and curious person. She loves finding little adventures in life. In 2013, she went on a 130-day round-the-world trip. She wrote a book to help those who also want to go on a career break.

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