So where does something like this start?
Well usually it begins with a chance reading of a newspaper or magazine article about other people taking time out from their career.
Try to speak to other people who’ve done it. What colour is your parachute, the book, is good starting point, to help begin a general reassessment of what you want to do with your career and life.
Start telling people what you’re planning and be open to lots of chance conversations with people at work, in pubs and bars. In particular, listen to (if you can) or read inspiring stories of people who overcame great barriers to fulfil their dream. A great recent book is by the sailor, Pete Goss. He talks about his round the world trip and the barriers he overcame to make his dream happen (like sleeping nights at the railway stations because he couldn’t afford the hotel bill, when visiting potential sponsors).
|A true desire for career freedom starts from a realisation that there's more to life than just London, New York or whatever town you happen to live in and that may be it is time to shake things up a bit, take courage and allow yourself to be walk a different path.|| |
However, if you want to keep the option of returning open then make sure you pick up a useful skill whilst taking your career break:
- Learn a new language
- Teaching English as a foreign language
- Get a travel piece published and a few photos too
- Take on some voluntary work
Check out JoJaffa's recommendations on which new skill to learn.
Cost - The big question is how much will you need and can you afford it? In financing a trip you’ve essentially got 3 main costs:
- Getting there
- Living expenses
- Skills training before you go (ie TEFL)
To off set against that you have two potential areas of income:
- Work that you perform while abroad
- Rental income from your home (if you have one)
If your income is greater than your costs – great, you can stay as long as you like. Otherwise, you need to count the pennies. Check out JoJaffa’s advice on how to manage your costs.
If you can afford the four week course and have the inclination, a TEFL course will pay its weight in gold – and may extend your career break from 6 months to a few years.
Don't wait too long before making your decision. Think through the sacrifices. Be carefully (it's a lonely path being out of the rat race at times) and don't be put off by all the people who tell you how "brave" you’re being!
Decisions you need to makeWhat sacrifices will I make?
Make a list of all the things you’ll need to give up. Include things like ‘status’. If you’ve had a successful career – this is going to take some adjustment. May be you will sell your car. Also, there'll be no more fancy week ends away.
Are you really willing to give up your career (that is if you think your job is a career?).
Where are you going to go:If you intend to learn a language whilst away – that will govern where you’ll go. The other main consideration is that unless you are going to work, then head for a developing country where your pound or dollar buys more.
How long are you going for?Do you want to take a career sabbatical or do you really want out of the rat race? May be a sabbatical can last a year, much more than that and it’ll get more difficult to return to your original job. But hey, is that a bad thing after all?
How much money do you have?Look at what you’d need to sell – like there’s no point in leaving a car rusting on the pavement. Also, how much can you save per month whilst you are still working. If you need more money, may be you’ll just need to stay working a little longer. Sometimes, you can rent your flat or house and move out while still working – that’s a great way of improving the finances – but don’t expect the hospitality of others to last too long.
Are you going to work?Do you intend to work or just pay your way? Often, you may be able to find work in return for accommodation and food. Usually, paid work requires visas and unless you’re teaching English or have a precious skill you may find it difficult to get paid work.
Maybe you’re still thinking about your career? Okay, go for a bit of planning. Try these two sites first: www.bgsu.edu/offices/careers/process/process.html or www.guardianunlimited.co.uk
If plain old job hunting is what you want start with a directory like www.excite.co.uk or www.excite.com – they list all the best job sites and do a grand job of keeping it up to date and accurate.
There again, if you just can’t face yet another round of CV re-writes and the strain of job hunting then give it all up and go for freedom.