Still, taking a break can seem like a luxury at best, and career suicide at worst. Perhaps you’ve heard distant stories of those who struggled to return to the workforce. Or maybe you are discouraged by the tepid job market, content to bide time for now. Yes, that desire not to rock the boat, can keep us spinning wheels in the same place, sometimes in jobs that seized to be fulfilling long ago.
Stepping back, and off, the career ladder, though, can be the change that some of us need in order to move forward. Whether you are unfulfilled, looking for something different but don’t know what it should be, or are simply tired of the rat race, taking a mid-career break may be a good next step.
Here are 4 ways that stepping off the career treadmill, whether for a couple of months or a few years, can bring unexpectedly positive change to your life:
You will develop a new perspective
When you’ve been doing the same job for a long time, you can develop tunnel vision. After years of working, you typically have expertise in your chosen field and feel comfortable with performing your work a certain way. That comfort, though, has a downside. It can make you stagnant, unwilling or sometimes, unable to see a different way.
Stepping back will inevitably push you out of your comfort zone. You will begin to relate to others and experience life differently. Simple changes, like re-arranging your daily schedule, wearing different clothes, and speaking with different people can all have a major impact. Soon, you will notice a change in your habits, and in your mindset!
Distance may give you new insights about your passions and interests
If it’s been a while since you felt that your work gave you meaning, it may be time to look within and re-acquaint yourself with your interests and passions. This may be hard to do when you are rushing through life, but distance can give you the necessary time to focus on what’s important.
Spending a quiet morning alone, or having a conversation with an old friend will help to focus you on something other than your responsibilities and to-do lists. It will be easier to re-connect with what gives you joy without feeling guilty and stretched thin.
You will have time to develop new skills and have new experiences
If you’ve always wanted to be class parent, or volunteer at your favorite non-profit, you will finally have time to do that. Or maybe you’ve realized that you would like to travel, or be a student again. When you are not committed to the 9-5 schedule, you’ll find it much easier to carve out time to pursue opportunities you may have put on the back burner.
And whether it’s through your hobbies, classes, travels, or volunteer opportunities, you can be sure to develop new skills that you’ll be able to parlay into another job down the road.
Spending more time with family and friends will be rejuvenating
All of us love spending time with friends and family. Typically, those are the times that bring us the most joy and happiness. Yet, it is sometimes hard to be truly present with the ones we love when we are married to our jobs. That is particularly true with jobs that don’t fulfill us and drain our emotional energy.
Taking a step back from our career can allow us to make more meaningful memories with our loved ones.
Blowing bubbles on the porch one afternoon, taking the family to the zoo, chaperoning a class trip, being there when your child has had a bad day, or learned to ride the bike. Going out with your spouse or friends, instead of working the night away. Those moments matter. They make us happy, they make us proud, they rejuvenate us.
Ultimately, whether you take a linear path or take a detour, there are many ways to experience success, but that is one way that we all can connect with!