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Taking a Break from Work

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Most of us feel the need to take a break at some point in our career. This can prevent burnout and also help us sharpen our existing skills. However, it needs to be a carefully thought-out decision and not one that leaves regrets in its wake.

Determining whether to take a break from work is never an easy decision, and sometimes it is a decision that is totally unplanned. Taking a break from one’s career also is never simple. Whether you are in a financial situation that will allow you to take a break from work might be the single biggest influencing factor in this decision.

For the purposes of this article, we will not consider medical reasons for taking a break. This is not to say that such reasons do not fall under the concerns of human resources management. But when health issues occur, they do not leave much room for consideration; if your health or that of a family member demands it, you will probably have to take a break from work.

Of course, you do need to consider different factors carefully if you are looking at a sabbatical from professional work. You have spent a considerable amount of time and money on acquiring the education that you have. In all probability you have also spent time on additional training. Apart from your personal talents, your employer too has invested in on-the-job training for you as a valuable human resource.

An entirely separate consideration is the satisfaction that you are deriving from your work. Whether or not you are happy to go to work daily and whether the environment around you is conducive to your well-being are questions that will influence your decision.

Further, a break from work need not mean that you will stop working altogether. A break is not driven by the sheer necessity to stop working but by a need to restore strength and resources, whether mental or physical.

Making the Decision

The first thing that comes to mind when you think of a break is probably how it will affect your market value. Talking about your decision within your peer group may help, particularly if there are others who have made similar decisions in the past. Discussions within a peer group can help in more ways than one. They can bring diverse matters to your notice — for example, potential issues surrounding the division of household chores.

The decision to take a break need not be a solitary one. You can talk out matters with the human resources department. This is especially useful when chalking out your strengths and professional capabilities. An open and clear talk can help you assess your professional strengths and weaknesses. It can also help you decide whether you need to add value to your resume by taking courses or completing other training.


It is easy to think of leaving one’s job in times of stress. However, this is a decision that needs careful thinking over; it also calls for an assessment of one’s financial and professional standing. Talking to one’s peer group as well as other professionals within the workplace — such as human resources personnel — can help you decide whether the decision and its timing can be viable for you.
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