Planning a gap year?


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But feeling a little daunted?

Not sure which way to turn?

Wondering where you'll end up

And what might happen along the way?

Fear not!!

We have loads of tips and advice to share with you

From our own amazing Family Gap Year!

Gap Year Career Breaks - Being Frivolous

"I travel a lot; I hate having my life disrupted by routine." Caskie Stinnett


Even rather frivolous ways of spending a career break have been found to be professionally beneficial as in the case of Michael Tunison from Michigan:

Newspaper work was exactly what I thought I was leaving behind by globetrotting. I'd temporarily sacrificed (I believed) my career as a journalist. The last place I thought I'd be working was at a daily paper in Mexico. But things never work out as planned and before I knew it I was the managing editor's assistant and a month or so later the managing editor of the paper's weekend editions. How ironic. By taking a step my newspaper friends believed to be an irresponsible career move, I was soon years ahead of where I'd have been following the old safe route back home.

A growing number of companies offer career break schemes including Lloyds TSB, Asda, Tesco, American Express, Littlewoods, Prudential, BT and the Post Office. Typically Lloyds TSB allows unpaid leave of between one and five years; although a guaranteed right of return is not on offer, every effort will be made to re-employ.

These large and important employers have introduced formal schemes in response to a growing interest in the opportunity to travel, live overseas, gain further qualifications or simply have the time to step back from the pressures of work to re-evaluate the direction of one's life. Smaller companies can afford to be much more flexible and agree to sabbaticals on a case-by-case basis.

Any company worth its salt would not stop you if you came with a proposal or project to realise a dream; otherwise employees would just leave anyway. Where there is no formal policy of granting career breaks, employees are negotiating unpaid gap years on a discretionary basis, a concept which is gaining wider acceptance.

Nowadays managing directors require energy, passion and commitment. They won't get that if employees are just slogging their guts out. Eventually, they will lose the employee and have the disruption anyway. Almost all companies would be willing to listen if you approached them with a sensible and practicle proposal.

Career Break Checklists

The booklet Career Bridge:
A handbook for personnel and development professionals considering a voluntary break from employment is published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (www.cipd.co.uk) and contains guidance on the subject of negotiating a career break, including the following.

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