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 Years - Career Breaks

"To get away from one's working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one's self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change." Charles Horton Cooley


My career simply wasn't an issue for me which is perhaps a short sighted way of viewing things but I have no regrets about the choices I made. For many others it is a quandry which weighs heavily on their minds.

  • When is a good time to take a career break?

  • How long can or should I go for?

  • What will it do to my career?

  • Will my boss let me have time off?

  • Can I afford it?

  • Will I be able to keep my job when I get back?

  • Will I slot back into my work environment nicely after such a long break?

Taking a career break will probably have scary implications for your personal finances. Whatever the purpose of your career break, it means that your financial affairs will be undergoing a period of flux that requires some planning.

Usually, taking a career break to travel means living without a salary for the duration.

In academia and the teaching profession, the notion of a sabbatical is established by tradition. Whereas sabbaticals are earned with loyal service and are normally paid, gap years or career breaks tend to be thought of as self-granted and unpaid. But what is a sabbatical if not a gap year?

A sabbatical leave of absence from duties allows a teacher or lecturer to recharge, refresh their knowledge of a subject, conduct original research or join an exchange programme.

A career break can be regarded as an empowering move in the contemporary workplace, a chance to use your own time to equip yourself with experiences and skills that complement your formal professional training. It can be interpreted positively by employers as a sign of self-sufficiency and initiative. Perhaps most valuably, it will at least illustrate to yourself that you are capable of managing your own time to suit your own ends and that work need not dominate your life to the exclusion of everything else.

Changing Direction

A serious career break can prompt a radical shift in thinking. One of the most common revelations is that a high salary does not always compensate for minimal job satisfaction. Workaholism is endemic in our society, as are clichés like rat race, treadmill and conveyor belt to describe the hectic working lives of 21st century westerners.

A break from work can diversify your energies and allow you to see that a stressful working life is not an inevitability. However ably an individual seems to be coping with a gruelling work schedule, he or she will benefit from having a chance to concentrate on something different. For some people a career break may well provide an opportunity to leave an unsatisfying and over-stressful job. It presents a chance to wipe the slate clean or even change career. If you have substantial qualifications in a healthy economy or ample savings, you might be more willing to take a risk and simply part company with an employer. Taking a whole or partial gap year may well give you the chance to put an unhappy employment situation behind you and replace it with a period of adventure and self-discovery.

This has frequently led to a change of employer or even career, or at least given individuals the chance to break out of a rut and give themselves new challenges, often producing increased confidence and an improved CV. The reality is that many people who organise a gap year will in fact be leaving their present employment forever. Indeed for some that will be part of the attraction.

They are looking not just for a pause, but a significant life change that will lead them to new fields of activity or work.

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