Job security in today’s fast-paced world has been changed to ‘career security’ as professional development and self-fulfilment become important factors in the workplace. A gap on one’s resume was once considered career suicide, a mindset that is now outdated in most parts of the world.
Manpower, one of the world’s largest staffing firms, recently reported that 84 percent of millennials foresee taking multiple career breaks, turning the traditional concept of a ‘career marathon’ into ‘career waves’. Additionally, 93 percent believe in the importance of lifelong learning and around a quarter expect to take an extended career break to study at some point in their lives.
While dreaming big is a wonderful thing, not everyone has the courage to take steps towards fulfilling their dreams. Read to see how, given a little preparation, taking a mid-career study break is actually easier than it sounds.
Planning mid-career study break:
Take a Month or Two Off: if you are planning to take an exam to earn a professional certification to advance your career, chances are that you may need to take some time off to study for it. Many companies have sabbatical policies in place for long-term employees to be able to do this.
Speak to your supervisor and discuss how the certification you want to earn will be beneficial not only to you but the organisation as a whole. Talk about your team’s goals and targets and how they can achieve them thanks to the work you’ve already put in. Discuss how accessible you will be during your time off and how you can still be reached in case of an emergency. Discuss your compensation and how you would fit in on your return.
Keep in mind that a sabbatical may be difficult if you have only been working at your firm for a couple of years. You may have to use your vacation time instead.
Taking a Year Off: for those who want to pursue a full-time degree, taking a year off is an option to consider. The decision to take a career break may seem scary but can pay off in the long term. However, some smart planning can help make the mid-career study break possible.
Tuition: Start saving for your tuition and expenses a couple of years before you actually take the break. Making small sacrifices in your lifestyle can go a long way towards helping you save a lot. Speak to your firm about any tuition reimbursement plans they may have and if you qualify for any help. Start scouting scholarship programs.
Living Expenditures: Discuss the situation with your partner or spouse. Decide together whether it makes sense for you to work part-time while studying or if you can afford to concentrate solely on your studies.
Speak to Your Employer: If you are planning on continuing in the same field after your degree, speak to your employer and discuss how your taking time off to study will benefit them in the long-term. Explain how you are committed to returning to the company and how they can save money as they do not have to train anyone new in your place.
Get Ready for Tough Choices: Be prepared to choose a new job if your employer doesn’t agree to a gap year. You may find more opportunities with higher qualifications and your future employers are likely to be impressed by your dedication to advancement.
Online and Hybrid Study- if taking time off work for full-time study is not an option, you could consider enrolling in an online degree programme that allows you to study and work at the same time. Many online and hybrid degree programs are designed for the working adult in mind with courses that are designed to fit in around your work schedule. Furthermore, you may even be able to apply your learnings immediately in your workplace allowing you to discuss your experiences with peers and professors as you go along.
If you do decide to opt for online study, we recommend you speak to your superior at work explaining your plans and discussing the possibility of receiving tuition reimbursements and time off when you need it to complete your studies successfully.
If you would like to learn more about the various options available, you can explore a variety of online degree programs here.
There is never a good time to start something new, so take the next step towards making one the biggest decisions of your career.
Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision, Manpower Group, 2016, https://manpowergroup.cl/wps/portal/manpowergroup/cl/millennial/carreras