My experience: the advantages and disadvantages of taking a career break.

My Career Break:

Last year I left my job because I needed a change. I wanted to explore more exciting opportunities, get a job in a new area and take a well deserved break because life is short.

During my four month career break I looked for a new job, slept, went on holiday, painted my room, went to a few concerts and workshops, relaxed and spent most of my mornings in the gym.

I haven’t had that much time to myself since I left university and it was so peaceful.

It sounds silly, but I didn’t realize how much time I spent at work until I wasn’t working anymore.

Everyday felt like a Sunday, and everyday was bliss.

How was I able to afford a break?

I saved up.

How was I able to save up?

Simple, I live at home.

  1. I don’t buy extravagant things, the only ‘designer’ things I own are my guess coat and coach bag. I only buy things I can afford so I often shop at asos, missguided, dorothy perkins PLT and boohoo. However, I don’t shop at PLT anymore because there was blood on my last parcel. I shop at boohoo instead because they have better quality control and clothes.
  2. Whilst working once payday arrived, I moved my money into a savings account. When I knew I was definitely taking a break, I cut back on spending to save more money.
  3. I live at home and do not pay rent. There would be no way I could take a break if I lived outside of the house, imagine having no job and a mortgage or rent to pay in London, scary.

Advantages of taking a career break

  • I slept well. When you’re working 40+ hours a week, have a social life and blog to run you don’t get enough sleep.
  • I went to the gym almost everyday for 2 months, it did wonders for my mental health and body. It was peaceful until I started feeling sick 8 weeks in, then I stopped working out daily.
  • I was able to do some life admin,* I painted my room white and went to interesting workshops, I couldn’t do these things while working.
  • I could go out during the week and didn’t have to go home by 10pm because I didn’t have a job. As Drake said:

“I don’t have to work in the morning so I always stay for one more.”

Which essentially means, since I don’t have to work in the morning, I can stay out for longer.

  • While off work I got the time to really decide what I wanted to do with my life, then came to the conclusion that I still don’t know but I do want freedom and to help the community.

Disadvantages of taking a career break

  • I used my savings to fund my lifestyle, which meant I used quite a bit. Miami holidays are not cheap, this is why having multiple income streams is important.
  • While I wasn’t working most of my friends were working, which meant I couldn’t meet them during the day.
  • My job status was a hot topic. Which forced me to keep looking when I really wanted to fully immerse myself in doing nothing.
  • It took roughly two months to find a job, which was ok because I live at home but if it had taken longer and I had a mortgage or rent to pay, I would have been screwed.
  • Transitioning back into full time work was really hard. I had all this free time and then suddenly I had none and all I kept thinking was why didn’t I book more holidays and then questioned is it even ethical to have only 25 days off a year? I really don’t think so.

To conclude

If you want to take a career break, do it. I loved mine because the gym became my second home and it gave me the time to paint my room. Although, transitioning back into full time work was extremely hard.

I would not recommend taking a career break if you are living paycheck to paycheck or don’t have 6 months worth of savings to spare and a mortgage/rent to pay. Alternatively, if your work offer a paid sabbatical, you can take it then come back to work, that way you have security because you can take a break and come back to your role.
*Life admin aka life administration.
Definition: the act of getting your life in order and taking care of things you’ve been forced to push back or have procrastinated about. Often these tasks are menial such as washing clothes but can be as important as going to the bank, fixing a leaking tap, rewriting your CV or in my case painting my blue room, white.

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