What's your problem?

WOULD A YEAR OUT JEOPARDISE MY CAREER? I have recently been made redundant, and after 10 years of keeping my nose to the grindstone I'm keen to take time off before looking for another job. I can afford to take a year out of work, and my wife is happy for me to do so.

by Jeremy Bullmore
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

My only concern is that this will decrease my employability factor when I come back to the job search. Do you have any idea of whether such career breaks spell the death knell for job-hunters, especially given today's shrinking job market?

A: This is where I have to guess, and what I guess is this: you've never experienced a job that you've positively enjoyed. Indeed, maybe you've always thought the words work and enjoyment were mutually exclusive, believing work by its very nature to be an unenjoyable necessity. For the vast majority of people, it's certainly a necessity; but it doesn't always have to be unenjoyable.

This perilous piece of guesswork is built on the fact that, simply because you can afford to, you're keen to spend a work-free year However tough the past 10 years may have been for you, I can't believe you need a whole 12 months to recover from them. You just don't want to go back to work.

So my strong advice would be for you to use this opportunity to re-examine exactly what you're good at and what you want to do. By all means use some of that time to rest and relax, but six or eight weeks should do it comfortably. And even while you're resting and relaxing, let your mind wander irresponsibly. What's your dream job? Among your friends, whose job do you most envy? Forget, at least temporarily, about salary, security and respectability. Identify your own strengths, private interests and enthusiasms: do jobs exist that could make productive use of them?

Once you've challenged the belief that enjoyment begins only when the working week ends, you may surprise yourself. To have the time and the money to redirect your career is an amazing opportunity. Do please make the most of it.

Please address your problems to Jeremy Bullmore at: Management Today, 174 Hammersmith Road, London W6 7JP. Or e-mail: management.today@haynet.com Regrettably, no correspondence can be entered into.

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