Skip to Content

Does a Career Break Look Bad?

Taking a career break can be a source of concern for many professionals, especially those who believe in continuous work throughout their lives. To provide clarity on this topic, this article explores the reasons for and against the idea that taking time away from work negatively impacts career prospects.

Reasons Supporting Continuous Work

  1. Maintaining a strong professional network: Continuous work allows professionals to build and maintain relationships with colleagues, employers, and industry partners. These connections may help secure future job opportunities or career advancements. A study by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics found that 55.5% of employment was gained through social networking in 2015.
  2. Preventing skill erosion: Staying employed helps keep skills sharp and relevant in a rapidly changing job market. Taking a break can lead to a decline in skills, making it harder to compete for jobs when returning to work. The World Economic Forum has identified an increasing demand for digital skills and the need for professionals to adapt and learn continuously.

Table 1: Top Emerging Skills in 2020

Analytical thinkingAbility to analyze data and information objectively
Active learningWillingness to learn and adapt to new knowledge and skills
Complex problem solvingTackling multifaceted challenges in a structured manner

Table 1 describes the top emerging skills in 2020, as identified by the World Economic Forum. Professionals can use this data to stay informed about the skills in demand and align their career development accordingly.

  1. Career progression: Continuous work allows professionals to climb the career ladder faster by accumulating experience, achievements, and skills. Gaps in employment might be seen as a lack of commitment or motivation by potential employers. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, higher levels of education correlate with lower unemployment rates and higher earnings.

Reasons Supporting Career Breaks

  1. Personal and professional development: A career break can offer the opportunity to pursue further education, acquire new skills, or even start a business. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reports that individuals in countries with higher life satisfaction tend to have a better work-life balance and take more time off for personal reasons.
  2. Avoiding burnout: Time away from work can provide mental and emotional respite, leading to a healthier, more productive professional life. A 2018 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found a strong correlation between overwork and burnout.
  3. Enhancing employability: Some employers may view career breaks positively, as they demonstrate an individual’s capacity to adapt, overcome challenges, and manage change. The United Nations has published an article highlighting the value of career breaks in promoting personal growth and resilience.

Table 2: Benefits of Taking a Career Break

Personal growthExploring passions, hobbies, or acquiring new skills
Work-life balanceFocusing on personal life, family, and mental well-being
Global exposureTraveling, volunteering, or working abroad

Table 2 outlines the potential benefits of taking a career break. Readers can use this information to evaluate the advantages of a break from their career and determine how it might contribute to their overall personal and professional growth.

In conclusion, while there are valid reasons for and against taking a career break, the decision ultimately depends on individual circumstances and priorities. It is essential to weigh the potential benefits against the perceived drawbacks before making a decision. Remember that a well-planned career break can lead to personal growth, resilience, and even enhanced employability in the long run.