Take a career break, help your career

lifestyle design, Travel Perspectives — By on July 22, 2009 at 7:20 am

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’m a fan of taking life sabbaticals, or career breaks. So it’s always nice to read about the positive experiences that other individuals have had in taking time off from their career, whether to travel or engage in some other worthwhile activity.

Michael Bontempi just wrote about his own career break and travel experiences for the Briefcase to Backpack site. Like pretty much everyone I know who has ever attempted this, he had an incredible experience, time to reflect on his life, and no problem finding a new job and resuming a career when he was back home. Here is an excerpt of what he had to say:

My career break gave me the opportunity to reflect on my previous 14 years of experience and helped me to reevaluate my career path and evaluate if I was on the right track. Ironically, putting our 9-month plan together started me on the decision path for my next role. It came very natural to me to orchestrate all the moving parts that would be required to enable me to enjoy my career break and ensure that our life back home was in order at the same time.

So as I started my career search at the beginning of 2008, the one frequent question that was on everyone’s mind was “how I would be able to explain my career break to a new employer?” To be honest, this was not something I was overly concerned about. I had decided that when asked, I would tell my story as it happened. To hide the truth or try to spin this time into something it wasn’t would be foolish. Surprisingly, most of the negative reaction to my career break decision came from the recruiters I worked with, and very little concern from the potential new employer. In today’s competitive market, some could view a career break as a handicap, while most see it as a differentiator…

For anyone that is considering a career break with hopes of returning to a career, you will inevitably have many doubts, concerns and questions. But at the end of the day, the choice to take a career break is not just about the travel – it’s about you. It’s about trying to reflect on all that you have accomplished and what you haven’t and determining if the current path you’re on will eventually put more in that “accomplished” category.

Check out his entire story, and the rest of the Briefcase to Backpack site.

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