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When to Take a Break in Your Career

Alan Writer

It may seem a counterintuitive proposal. You've worked hard on your degree, and you passed the phase of being a graduate. You've gone through countless interviews in your career. You've dealt with rejection, poor bosses, and unfulfilling careers, and now we're talking about taking a break from your career. It's actually more important than ever, especially with how the pandemic changed the workforce, and the consequences of those working habits are going to be felt for a long time coming.

How does the pandemic factor in?

Being put inside our homes and working from home, with nothing else to do, made many of us work more hours for the same pay in many cases. There were so many benefits discussed. The ability to be comfortable in a home setting, run errands when needed and not be tied to a desk, and even eliminate that commute that killed half an hour to an hour of our daily working hours. It all seemed we could be more efficient and comfortable at the same time. 

Yet that also eliminated a lot of what the corporate culture and working were about. It destroyed socialisation and building up those relationships with colleagues. It also stopped many choices of how employees would blow off some steam and relax after work. So there was no concrete disconnect between working and not working, and that led to one of the worst possibilities out there, which is burnout.

Take the break to recover from burnout

Burnout is actually something that's happening more common, where people simply continue to work for all those hours, but their output has diminishing returns. Those returns are getting significantly reduced to the point where inefficiencies are happening, and we're simply no longer as competent or satisfied with our positions. It leads to those phases where we are merely collecting a paycheck, and all the wonders of working from home have evaporated. 

Taking that break is more important than ever because it will help to reassess the situation. While many of us were forced to remain in our positions due to the fact that many of us were in survival mode, it also meant that we were pushing away our goals and aspirations away at the same time. 

It's time to return to those moments when we had a career track or goals of where we wanted to be. If we discussed switching our careers – now's a good time to reconsider that. Maybe we said we would work for a while before attempting higher education or pursuing our own businesses. 

These areas need to be revisited because that's how we move forward together economically, instead of simply checking in and checking out while we wait for the next sum of money to come our way. That step back can be taking a longer break to assess where you are in your career or simply moving on to a newer frontier. The alternative is us getting stale in our careers and realising the compounding effects of burnout. 

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