Anyone Taken a Career Break?

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  • Anyone Taken a Career Break?
  • surfer

    I have no answer to this but would be interested in replies. I am mid 40’s and would love to take a Sabatical for 3 months to complete something memorable such as the Bob Graham round (and before someone comments I would like to complete the round in under 24 hrs but it would be great to spend long periods reccying and training etc)

    I suspect in my current role it would be frowned upon.


    I did at 26, i took 5yrs out to travel the world. I’m 42 now it was the best thing i ever did, i got it all out my system and now have no desire to go abroad. I saw the best of everything so how can i improve on that? I’m now very content.

    I had a house but sold it, i didn’t have any kids. I can’t really see how you could do it with dependents.

    Are you happy with your wife?

    See the middle aged thread..


    I took redundancy at the ripe old age of 35 sold the house and used the money to fund an 8 month trip for me & the missus (inc 4 month cycling around NZ). This was prior to buying a “keeper” house, getting married and having kids mind.

    I can now see that mrs trb is cleverer than me and realised I needed to get it out of my system before we settled done properly, so she encouraged it all the way.

    One thought – the kids are due 6 weeks off soon, get the time off work somehow and take them on an extended holiday – we met a family trekking in Thailand who reckoned it was cheaper than spending 6 weeks in the UK with bored kids


    My advice would be don’t underestimate the effect it will have on your family if you choose to go away. Even if they are supportive now things can change when you have been away for a few months.

    Ditto to flip. Packed bags at 25 on spur of the moment (read girl) and left NZ, spent 3 years traveling including stints working in a dive shop in Thailand, and an animal refuge in bolivia (a month walking a puma through the forest each day). Arrived here in pomme land, tried to resume my career in finance but heart not in it, so headed home and re-trained. Never regretted it but was difficult initially getting back into workforce, and that was a while ago when things were much more buoyant … and I didn’t have the responsibilities u do.

    If financially u can do it, and the family (read wife) FULLY support you then go for it. Have u considered looking at other countries to continue your career … lifestyle change?


    I find I have completely run out of steam in my current career. I am just not interested any more and my clients are starting to pick up on it.

    I would really like to take a break for a year to reassess things. Trouble is I’m not 21 any more. I’m 40 next month and have a wife and two kids.

    Let me hear your stories about changing direction in life.


    Yes. 2 years ago wife and I took 4 months off then last year packed it in semi permanently. I’m 44 no kids.

    Key fact, have money put away to cover you or expect a world of pain. I worked out what I needed on a monthly basis as a ‘reasonable salary’ to cover the standard stuff and things we expect/want to do. I then pay that to myself each month.

    If you don’t have this covered you’ll swap work related aggro for home related aggro.

    Other than that, if you can get SWMBO to agree, do it. Life is too short.


    Yes – at 30 sold up and spent 2 years travelling. It meant at 32 I basically started from scratch again financially so will be mortgaged until I am 57. Stalled both mine and MrsTJ careers – not that either of us cared and meant we spent all our nest egg.

    It will mean a poorer retirement for sure. I don’t regret it at all apart from it did damage our relationship which took some years to recover

    Premier Icon ART

    I don’t have an answer either … sorry 😉 but am also interested in replies to this one. I’m 40 too but no kids in the equation and I’ve been bored at work for years now and am also probably going to be made redundant soon. I’ve been thinking for years it really is time to reassess and have done some work towards this along the way (some coaching stuff, looking at working for myself, new locations etc). The big thing that gets in the way mostly – for me anyhow – is money/ finance. If you have the funds to step away from work for a year then I would do it without hestitation. The minute you start focusing on new opportunities/ interests etc, everything starts to open up. However cliched the phrase, life really is too short to keep doing something if your heart isn’t in it.


    Me too.
    Ran a company in Plymouth building yachts and refurbs.
    Back in 04/05 Christmas I walked away aged 44.
    Lost interest when marriage broke up.
    Bummed around on mountain bike.
    Re-trained in 07 as an HGV driver.
    Worked for several companies and now just work for an agency a few days a week.
    To be honest I would like to go back to my boats.

    Holly – Australia is desperate for boat builders … and HGV drivers for that matter …


    I did it. I sold a buisiness and took 18mths off. I travelled all over Europe windsurfing and cycling. My M’sus couldn’t understand my wonderlust at the time and the relationship ended. I’ll be the first to admit I seemed to be going through some sort of midlife thingy at the age of 37. Even though I really enjoyed my time out at the time, I look back now and find myself wondering why I really did it and what was the point. One thing I did gain form it was a far more open mind and had I not done it I quite possibly would have gone into meltdown and bought a Porsche or something like it. I met some great people along the way though, but they didn’t change the way I felt at the time. The underlying feeling never went away.
    So, if you have the opportunity and you’re genuinly excited about it then hey, do what I did and do it. If on the otherhand you are simply trying to run away from something.. it’ll follow you whereever you go.
    One main thing I found out was on my return, working for someone else sucks.


    Yep – in 2004. Became totally bored with my career (IT solution sales) due to the politics/travelling/mundanity et al, but was lucky enough to be offered voluntary redundancy.

    Sold my house, kind of ‘split’ from the missus and then just did my own thing. Loads of biking, travelling and seeing friends – and started writing a book. Thought I’d do it for just a few weeks > which became a few months > and then pretty much a year and a half.

    Got into coaching (mix of life/career/business) – proper coaching, not the charlatan stuff. Did that for a couple of years and then started blending that with my renewed interest in IT.

    Was happy with most things in life around the time of the break, but just needed a change. Job and relationship weren’t going anywhere etc. Had plenty of material wealth though – far more than now. But priorities and responsibilities have evolved and am now a family man with a (slightly) altered take on life. Thankfully still have energy, drive and ambition etc. And have ‘created’ the job I want. But still aim to make it as a writer while doing the right thing by the family.


    27 I went. Got it all out for best part of 4 years. Lived the dream then met my dream. Back into career and happier than ever.

    I think its sometimes difficult to see the difference between ‘wanderlust’ and just being down, bored etc. I had full on wanderlust, still do to an extent but its supported and encouraged.

    Good luck.


    I’ve had a few ‘discontinuities’, where I instantly and radically change my life, usually out of boredom. In the latest one I woke up one day in London at the age of 28, and decided that either my job changes or my location. The management were very good, and for the last three years or so I’ve been working in the same job I used to have, but from a new home in Italy.

    Was good at first, but at the moment I feel a bit like ‘same shit different place’. Been feeling that usual itch to shake things up… Trying to resist…


    I wanted to clarify what I was thinking of.

    I was thinking of taking another, perhaps less demanding, job for a year to reassess whether I wanted to continue in my profession to date.

    Since November 2008 things have been pretty crappy work wise and I and my family have been through a lot. In the last 6 months my wife has ended up in hospital twice and I just feel something has to change.

    Premier Icon totalshell

    at 43 following the death of my baby son I jumped off the tread mill. I was a senior manager at Tesco and took a three year career break from which I never returned, It was simply the best thing i have ever done other than marry and have kids in the first place. I am now a qulaified gas engineer. I dont earn as much as i used to but i only work for whom i want when i want i take tiome of when i want for as long as i want i take the kids to school every day of the week
    for me it was the best thing i could have done. I have had though the support of my wife who has a more than adequately rewarded job and we own two houses outright so have no mortgage to look for each month and a small income each week if we do nothing.

    don simon

    Took one at the age of 35, sold the house, moved to Spain. Ten/eleven years later I’m still on that break and up until the crisis had been enjoying it. Good money, good hours and best of all no incompetent bosses. The crisis has had a deep effect an I’m looking to get back into an environment I used to thrive in. I feel the time is right and my attitude is right, the only downside is having to be based in the UK while the new business is being set up.
    As a professional you should be ok taking a break, you’ll just need to keep up to date with the any developments in your profession and if you’re good pretty much pick up from where youleft off. Good luck.

    Also interested to follow this.

    I took a break nine years ago and worked as a guide for three years. Great stuff, lots of travelling, lots of great people, lots of mediocre riding but also lots of great riding. Came back, back into my ‘career’ (graphic design) and now, six years on, am wondering what the hell to do as the 9-5 rat race is boring me to tears and killing all motivation.

    Premier Icon ART

    I wanted to clarify what I was thinking of.

    I was thinking of taking another, perhaps less demanding, job for a year to reassess whether I wanted to continue in my profession to date

    Don’t know if it helps at all, but I sort of did that. In 2006 I was getting burned out by the civil service (believe it or not 😕 ) v long hours, pressure to rise through the management ranks, constant politics and that feeling of never ever getting anything done/ finished. Don’t even get me started on the bureacracy… 😯 I sidestepped into consultancy, still in my ‘career’ area, but ironically (for consultancy) much, much less pressured. It gave me space to recover, do something else for a while and think about what I might want to do. My mistake, if you can call it that, has been staying too long – as I worked out at least 2 years ago that this work life (9-5, office based, toiling for other people etc) will never be fulfilling in the long term. But in many ways it has served its purpose i.e. maintaining a wage (albeit less than my public sector wage – oh the irony) and allowing me to clarify – a bit! – what I do/ don’t want to do long term in terms of my ‘profession’ overall.

    On health – this is actually my bottom line, if what you are doing makes you or others ill then you have to stop, and put your’s and your family’s well being first.



    Think you need to talk to wife and figure out if you can do it financially. how about just taking an extended hoilday as sgugested and going somewhere cool with friends. I live for my holidays so I work hard for a few months then booking an awesome 2 week holiday or something. An present excited about 2 weeks in Alps in June, 1 week in Sep so work hard through the summer whilst everyone else is holidaying! And 2 weeks MTBing in india next Jaunary! Can’t wait for that one!!

    Premier Icon simon_g

    I’m 31 and spent the winter travelling for 4 months with my gf. I just asked (and got) an unpaid sabbatical at work – had been there over 3 years and my boss was OK with it, I guess rather have me back in 4 months than not at all.

    We were just renting a couple of rooms a house share and went down to one room that we stored our stuff in so no issues around mortgage or anything.

    Trouble is, I’m back now and everything is much the same as before…

    Just to back up what simon_g was saying above, you might find that a lot of employers given the current economic climate would welcome the chance to reduce their wage bill in the short term ?

    You’d want a pretty concrete re-entry agreement though (if thats the intended course of action).


    I am lucky
    Backpacked across africa when 19
    ski season
    3 years in london learning how to blag IT
    2 months climbing in Nepal
    another ski season
    2 more years IT
    1 year in Vancouver biking/skiing
    been back 4 years. bought house, got a IT job where i only work 14 shifts a month but get paid more to do this! so plenty of hols each year. 20+ days skiing, 2 weeks biking, plus ususal wifely hols.

    plenty of local biking. climbing wall, surfing at the witterings.

    I find it a good balance of a reasonably well paid job, no stress, plenty of time off etc. IT is dull but I am only in the office for 150 days of the year so can handle that!

    Premier Icon bigjim

    In late 2008 at 30 I told work I was quitting to go traveling to australia and work there on a working holiday visa. They said go do that for 6 months, we’ll hold your job for you and you can come back after, so i did that in 2009. To be honest coming back to the same stressy job made it seem more like a long holiday than a change, and I have itchy feet again. It was awesome though, a good break.



    The above quite amused me so I bought the album. The line “do yourself a favour, give yourself a break, that’s one risk you’d never take” from another song on the album haunted me till I did in early 87. I never did go back to geology and environmental protection.

    Hi Shooterman, I’ve guessed who you are. You wondered where I’d gone on the other channel, the answer is nowhere, I just had a few weeks of bringing out the worst in people then pulled the plug. I didn’t do that when I quit my career but the idea is the same, at some point you decide to go, tidy up the loose ends and just go.


    Mate go for it. I’m lucky to an extent as in my job I get to see the world and travel to new locations every couple of months. Usually try to take some time off while I’m there too. This calms to an extent my wanderlust and gives a very welcome break from the office and something to look forward to.

    Anyway you might want to think about the following quote. It’s from a mountaineering book – a bit cheesy but it makes you think.

    “So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a mans living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”


    Edukator – you have no idea how good it is to read a post from you. The old place just isn’t the same without you! I will be keeping a keen eye out for your contributions over here!

    Time to digest some of the stuff here!


    I’m 28 and back in 2007 I took a year out and travelled Australia. My girlfriend wasn’t ready to travel so I left and we broke up.

    I spent a year out there. First I got a job in IT (my trade) but decided to take this opportunity and do something completely different. I got a job on a sheep station in the Outback and loved it. Having 120,000 acres of land to play with just yourself is something else! but before I knew it my year was up and I was back in the UK. Having had the travelling bug I decided I would spend 6 months in the UK and then go to Canada but after meeting up with my ex we decided to give it another go with the aspiration that she would join me travelling within a year or two. So back to the job I hated but with the girl I loved. First 18 months were ok but when it was time to sort out our my awaited travel plans, my girlfriend changed her mind and decided she didn’t want to travel after all. I was gutted and told her it’s either the UK or me. She choose the UK.

    Now I’m inbetween a rock and hardplace. I plan to travel in 7 weeks time but we still share a room so I see her everyday. Part of me wants to stay but my heart wants to travel. Tough decision but I know until I get travelling out of my system I’ll never be able to settle down.

    I was thinking of taking another, perhaps less demanding, job for a year to reassess whether I wanted to continue in my profession to date

    did exactly that… 6ish months and i ended up moving back into me previous career but the break from the accountability/responsibility and stress was a life-saver.

    considering it again at some point in the not too distant future if things don’t improve here

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth

    Bit of a thread revival…

    Shooterman – you and I need to speak some time. I’ve been having v interesting chats with my boss who, for different reasons, is in a similar place to you. And, I too, might find myself career changing too (for diff reasons).

    Have you been to the moretolaw website? Some interesting tales….

    My guess is you face the following two big quesitons: (1) how do I set about transferrign my skills into something else and (2) how will I cope financially with the inevitable drop in oncome?

    I can’t answer either, but I’m going through those very thoughts too. It’s all about risk – not rash decisions, but calculated risk.


    If financially you can, then give yourself a break is my advice.
    I’ve done 15 years in marketing (you might say serves me right!) and only enjoyed it/felt like I’ve fitted in for about 1 year of that total. It’s taken its toll – signed off for stress once and nearly again this year, and now just been ‘persuaded to leave’ a job that ostensibly I’m well suited for but I just thought was ridiculously demanding, could have no impact and was, at the end of the day, meaningless.

    Prob is, if you have that thing within you where you have a sense of adventure/ability to think for yourself and live outside the consumerist/social life/sit at a desk world that is seen as the acceptable norm, then it can be hard to feel fulfilled by the standard life.

    I’m taking my recent experience to push for what I really want to do, before it takes too much of a toll. I recommend taking some time out as it really helps give you a broader perspective on what you can do to earn a living and how much cash you really do need.
    Also, speak to friends and family who know you and will support you -they can be invaluable in providing insight and direction. Career coaches can be pricey but maybe a worthwhile investment.
    I know it sounds a bit hippy but you have to be true to yourself…

    This book too, highly recommended: How To Get A Job You’ll Love by John Lees.

    Good luck 🙂


    I would love to chat some time ourmaninthenorth. I had noticed your posts had become less frequent of late and hoped everyuthing was ok with you.

    I will have a look at that website.

    I agree with you as well broess. If you realise there’s more to life than money and don’t really understand consumerism, it’s hard to get or stay motivated.

    Premier Icon penguinni

    Im married with two kids aged 7 and 11 and in December 2010 aged 49, I took a redundancy package and walked away from a secure, reasonably well paid job that was slowly killing me. I have had no regrets at all and the old cliche of “a weight of your shoulders” is, in my case, absolutely true. I have yet to wake up in a panic thinking what the hell have I done.

    Now I cant afford to fully retire and after a few months “chilling” ( and failing to write a book, paint, ride in Spain and complete numerous household chores) I am working part-time with the National Trust and loving it. Working outdoors, no pressures, no politics and no worrying for hours when I get home.

    I have an interview tomorrow for a semi-skilled fabricator job in an aircraft factory which is a total career change and if Im successful I hope to retain the NT work and for the first time in a long time, be happy in work.

    I just had a gut feeling I should go and for once I followed my instincts and so far so good.

    Good luck.

    Premier Icon ourmaninthenorth

    I would love to chat some time ourmaninthenorth.

    Let’s sort something out.

    I had noticed your posts had become less frequent of late and hoped everyuthing was ok with you.

    Just moved house. Been off work )ill/holidays) and had limited internet access.

    Career coaches can be pricey but maybe a worthwhile investment.

    Am about to start looking into them myself….

    Premier Icon cookies

    I had a 12 month sabbitcal from my job – went for 9 months in my camper arround Europe,Africa and Asiatic Turkey and 2 months in Sri Lanka (not in the camper). Did this with a 2 year old, a 4 year old and the wife.

    Money wise, we rented our house and the income offset the running costs. A whole year away cost us about £10K.

    Why did we do it? The kids are at school now so its a long time before we are free from school hols. Spending real qaulity time with the kids. We will never have this opp again. A real sieze the day thing.

    I was bored at work and this has certainly re sparked my need to work!
    Work took both of us back and we are again on the treadmill.

    Premier Icon ART

    I like it when threads come back, and the issues being raised ^^^ have been key in my searching for alternatives. Apropo my earlier contribution, I’ve done quite a bit of reading around on this, and have had some coaching, so can offer an insight. Happy to send links/ recommendations/ refs etc to your email in profile if you are interested shooterman. 🙂

    Premier Icon ransos

    Me & Mrs R saved up for ages, took 6 months’ unpaid leave, and went travelling round the world. Absolutely brilliant! We figured that if we didn’t do it then, we never would. No regrets at all.

    Premier Icon Pawsy_Bear

    Well I guess I come with another model. I enjoy my work and wl soon retire at 55. I have, since the kids grew up, traveled. What I have got which I am very grateful for is a pension. Enough to live on and travel for I guess the rest of my life. Throwing in work or taking a break is fine but have 1 eye to the future. I enjoy traveling and mtb more now than ever. Don’t end up like some I know, out of work, no pension and no hope of travel. Life carries on after 55 and I intend to make themost of it.

    The answer seems to be get a job you like and it will support your dreams.

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