Need to boost your confidence? Try a career break!
by Rachel Morgan-Trimmer
Rachel, on her career break
I got off the boat, which was moored to a Thai island, and walked up the path towards my hut. I heard one of the diving instructors behind me, saying 'She should go back in the water - because she's good'. It was with a great shock I realised they were talking about me.
This was about the mid-point of my career break. I was travelling around the world and on a whim, decided to do a diving course. I hadn't been able to dive that day due to a bad case of seasickness, and was secretly planning never to get back on a boat again, until I overheard the instructor. It was the first time in my life anyone had said I was good at a sport!
Is there something you wish you were good at? Maybe leading a team of people, or teaching a group a new skill? Perhaps, like me, you wish you were more sporty, or maybe you just feel you could do with a challenge to face up to.
A career break is a perfect way to try out new things. You're away from home so you're already in a more confident frame of mind, ready to tackle something different. There's no big time commitment - you're not signing up to a new job. And if it doesn't work out, you've still had a great learning experience, probably met some great new people and you can go onto the next thing without any regrets.
Women account for 60% of career breakers and their breaks last anything from 2 weeks to 2 years. Some choose to leave their jobs and get a new one on their return, and others negotiate a sabbatical with their employer (many employers now have formal sabbatical policies).
Career breaking women find that the skills they develop on their career breaks, in volunteering, training, or simply adventurous travel, make them a better employee when they return. Not only can they prove they can solve problems, communicate effectively and be part of a team, they also show they have the courage to make a life-changing decision.
A lack of confidence is something that plagues many women, both in their professional and personal lives. Career breakers (both male and female) consistently report that their confidence levels soar while on a career break - and stay high once they return.
As for me, I did get back on the boat the next day, and I got my diving certificate. It's one of many things I can now say proudly, that I'm good at.
Rachel Morgan-Trimmer founded The Career Break Site (www.thecareerbreaksite.com) after taking her own career break at the age of 29 and finding there was very little information for people like her. Despite a fear of flying, she left her job in the gap year industry to go on a round-the-world trip, and set up her advisory service on her return.