returning home after travel

Should you take a Gap Year or Sabbatical?

August 13, 2014|Posted in: Advice

Having seen this article on LinkedIn a few weeks ago (click here to read said article) it made me think; can taking a gap year/years or sabbatical really help your career, or hinder the process by cutting the chances of growth within the set out process of ‘climbing the ladder’?

It’s interesting, because I personally don’t know anyone from my school days that took that leap and ‘travelled the world’ in a gap year, either before college or University. Most took one involuntarily after failing an exam or generally because they didn’t know what to do with their life.

But, there are many others, including some of the commenter’s on this article that have done, and while the discussion is mixed, there is a clear consensus. Those of them that DID take a gap year or two (or however many they wanted!), certainly don’t regret doing so. Some suggest that the time spent travelling the world gained them a better insight to what they wanted to do when they returned to the ‘real world’ whilst others found that actually, it didn’t matter. The experience of it all helped build their personal CV, from becoming more inquisitive, organised and generally wiser about life. And therefore one could suggest, a better, more open employee?

So what about those who frown upon this view, those that would view a candidate with a gap in their CV as a negative? Well, most that took the year off don’t care what others think. The majority of people that have taken a gap year wrote that, actually, working for somebody that didn’t think travelling the world was an amazing thing to do would be their worst nightmare. Why would you want to work for a company that didn’t value individuality and exploration?

And what about sabbaticals or ‘career breaks’? You’ve been working in the same place/role for 5-10 years and suddenly the bug just gets too much. Is it worth risking that amount of experience to follow your heart? Of course! Why not? If someone is not happy in their 9-5 , then why shouldn’t they go and explore what is out from behind their desk and laptop? The experience gained could even lead to re-evaluating certain priorities in life, gaining a whole different aspect and values to what that person wants from their job, or just general existence.

I’m not saying it’s for everyone, and neither was the article. But those of the readers that had done it haven’t any regrets. Okay, it may slow down the process to becoming the CEO of a large corporation, but then, would you be happy if you knew you’d missed out? I know I wouldn’t.

So, it would be good to here your thoughts on this subject! Have you taken a gap year or sabbatical, and if so do you think it hindered your career in any way? Comment below!

Amy is the founder of Currently residing in Reading, UK with a love of adventure travel, writing and photography - she pretty much writes about whatever the hell she wants!

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