7 reasons to consider a career break in 2024

FDM Group, a global business and tech consultancy, has revealed seven reasons why workers should consider a career break in 2024.

A career break is any unpaid leave from work that lasts longer than two months; however, they typically last around 6 months. Unlike taking a sabbatical, you do not typically have a job lined up for your return to work.

More than 90,000 people* in the UK take some kind of career break every year. 

Taking a career break can be a transformational experience and there are several reasons why workers might consider it. 

Personal development often tops the list, as stepping away from work can provide space for learning new skills, exploring passions, or furthering education. Some may even take a career break for health reasons, to recover and rejuvenate both physically and mentally. 

Travel is another popular reason, with individuals wanting to explore the world beyond the confines of annual leave, whilst care responsibilities, including parental leave or caring for a family member, can also necessitate a break. 

A spokesperson at FDM Group comments: “Contrary to traditional notions, stepping away from your profession temporarily doesn't signify a lack of direction or ambition. Instead, it presents individuals with a unique opportunity to rejuvenate, reassess their goals, and broaden their perspectives. 

“Whether it's through furthering education, volunteering, travelling, or simply taking time to focus on personal wellbeing, career breaks can enrich individuals in ways that reverberate positively in their eventual return to work.

“In today's ever-evolving professional landscape, we encourage understanding and flexibility around career breaks. It's high time we shifted our perspective to see them not as detours, but as valuable pit stops on the road to a fulfilling career.”

Here are seven reasons to consider a career break this year: 

Grow your professional network

Whether you’re just starting your career or you’re already well-established in the working world, growing your professional network is key. There are a multitude of ways to grow your network, such as going to face-to-face events and conferences, webinars, or connecting with professionals on online platforms, like LinkedIn. 

Travel the world

If there’s somewhere you've always wanted to travel or, perhaps, you’ve always been interested in living or studying abroad, then a career break is the perfect time to do so. In this instance, a sabbatical is not typically enough time, and a career break is a more viable option, enabling you to take out as much time as you need. Travelling can widen your horizons, boost your confidence, improve your communication skills, and make you a better-rounded person. 

Focus on your mental health

A career break for mental health reasons is very common, as our professional life can take its toll on our mental wellbeing, leading to stress, burnout, sleeping problems, and more serious issues. However, it is important to remember that our health should be our top priority over an attractive salary or fancy job title. In some cases, a long weekend or week of annual leave just won’t cut it. A career break can provide a respite from work stress and give you time to reset, gain back your self-motivation, and jump back into work with a healthier mindset.

Re-evaluate your career plans

Taking a career break can give you time to reflect and reassess your career goals, decide where you want to be in the future, and how to get there. This way, you can look back in 10 years’ time and feel accomplished and satisfied with your career choices, rather than wishing you’d switched up your career when you had the chance. 

Break away from toxic work environments

Working in a toxic environment can be draining and it takes some time to recover from, which is why a career break can be a good idea if you’re finding yourself in this situation. Taking a career break gives you time to rest and recuperate before returning to work in a new, positive environment. It can also help create distance between the two jobs and will ensure you don't bring any negative feelings with you along the way.

Expand your skill set

If you are looking to expand your skill set, upskill yourself, or retrain completely, that’s another reason to take a career break. Without the stresses of work and much more spare time on your hands, you can solely focus your time and energy on training, studying, or gaining new qualifications. 

Gain a new perspective on life

Taking a career break can help you see life from a different perspective and can provide you with some much-needed separation from your work life. It is often easy to get wrapped up in your profession and allow yourself to live on autopilot, which could result in you missing out on incredible opportunities. 

FDM is a global consultancy that has been powering the people behind technology and innovation for over 30 years. The company offers specialist training to graduates, ex-forces personnel, and people who have taken a career break, providing individual mentorship and opportunities to excel with world-class businesses. FDM collaborates and consults with clients, providing exactly the right people, right when they are needed.