Staying at Home During a Career Break
When most people think of career breaks, they conjure up romantic images of volunteering in a developing country, travelling around the world in a yacht or basking on a beach in the South Pacific. But for many people, a career break is a chance to learn new skills, reflect on life or train for a new challenge - often whilst staying at home.
A career break is as flexible as you want it to be, you can take time off for a few weeks, a few months or a few years. What is important is that you decide what you want to do, and the best way to achieve it. Take time to think seriously about your dreams, aspirations and desires, make a plan of action and go for it!
Do Voluntary Work in the UKSo many organisations are desperate for volunteers, so the trick to getting a successful placement is to decide what kind of work you'd like to do. Whether it's teaching children to read, preparing art classes in an old people's home or helping refugees learn English, there is always someone out there who could benefit from your experience. Most people opt for volunteering posts that are considerably different from their day jobs; others choose to continue with similar work in a non-profit organisation or charity. You will usually receive expenses and free training as part of the package.
Retrain for a Possible New CareerDeciding on a new career is a scary prospect, and many people take career breaks to help them decide if they really want to do something else before they take the leap. Whether you enrol on a full-time course or choose to relax in the day and take evening classes is up to you. You may find that your lifelong dream of becoming a trapeze artist isn't really the job for you after all, and that you're happier than ever to return to your former employment when your career break ends.
Start a Home-based BusinessA career break can give you the opportunity to see if you can really start a successful home-based business. At worst, when you go back to work the business can help you generate money to be used for luxuries such as holidays and home improvements. At best, the business could eventually turn into full-time, permanent employment. The beauty part is that you can offset a significant proportion of household expenses against the business - so what have you got to lose?
Time Off for Family ReasonsIn today's rat race many people regret that they never have enough time to spend with their children, spouses or aging parents. Staying at home during a career break can allow you ample time to spend with your family, catch up with old memories and hopefully make new ones. Your kids won't be kids forever.
Indulge Your Favourite HobbyEver fancy becoming a pastry chef, learning how to design your own garden, perfecting your home renovation talents or honing up your mechanic or pottery skills? This could be your chance. Who knows, learning how to do reiki massage, improving your culinary skills or writing a novel could eventually lead to a new career.
Do NothingIt's not uncommon for many individuals to start work directly after leaving school or university, then wake up one day at age 50 and realise they've never had any time to themselves. Whether you choose to potter about your garden, renew old friendships, travel on UK-based homestays or spend three months reading romantic fiction is your choice. We underestimate the huge role stress plays in most of our lives. Having ample time to de-stress, relax and do a bit of soul-searching - or not - can work wonders on your state of mind, and greatly influence your future as well.
Staying at home during a career break is not a cop-out, it's often a solid, well-thought out decision that can have enormous and far-reaching benefits. Few people have the opportunity to take time out from life, and even fewer have the determination to turn their dream of time to themselves into a reality. You do. Make the most of it.