Taking a Hiatus



Photo: PNW Productions

You might need to take a hiatus due to a situation in your life or you might just want a break. Either way, there are ways to take some time to yourself and come back to work. In fact, people often feel recharged after taking a hiatus and are able to come back to work feeling more creative, more capable, and less burned out. How do you take a break from work?


Before you take a break, look at your finances.

Nothing is guaranteed. Maybe your boss says they're fine with you taking a bit of time to yourself. Maybe a colleague says they will help run your business in your absence. Sometimes everything works out perfectly- sometimes it doesn't. Prepare yourself for your hiatus by making sure you have several months of living expenses saved up. Of course, you'll also need to have funds saved up for the months that you are not working. You should have enough saved to feel comfortable and not have to worry about surviving. Look at where you are in life, how the economy is functioning, and determine if it's the right time to make the leap.


Explaining your hiatus.

If you're working for someone else, you'll likely have to explain to them why you are going to take a break. Some jobs will allow you to take a hiatus- for others, taking a break will effectively mean the end of your position there. Check to see if an extended break is possible- have any of your colleagues done it? Is it in the employee handbook? If not, then it might be more difficult- but not impossible. Explain what you are trying to achieve during your hiatus, highlight some of your accomplishments and successes in your position, state the length of your break, and then hope for the best. If you've been a great employee, perhaps even if they don't save your job for you, you might still be able to apply for a different position in the future with the same company.


Give notice before you take a break.

Life happens but do your best to give adequate notice of your desire to take a break from work. This will help anyone who is going to have to fill in for you. And if your job can't be held for you, your organization will have to find someone to take your position.


Explaining your hiatus (again):

If you're going to get back into the job market after your break from work, you might have to explain the gap in your resume, especially if you took off for a significant amount of time. Explain your reasoning and how you feel that it's helped make you a better candidate. Also share anything that you did while on your hiatus- skills you picked up, developmental activities you took on (like classes, etc.), volunteer work, and anything else that enhances your resume.


Change your job.

Maybe you don't really want to take a break from working- maybe you just want a different job. Since the pandemic started, many people have taken a look at their current occupations and decided they'd like to do something different. Take some time and brainstorm about what you really want to do and the type of people you want to work with.

And maybe the work you really want to do is one where you can work remotely. Some people have started working as digital nomads, traveling all over the world while maintaining remote employment. With this sort of work, you can get the change in scenery without taking a break from working. Decide if this is something that is right for you.


If you've been considering taking a hiatus, determine if taking a break from work is right for you or if you really just want a different job. If you decide you want a hiatus, get your finances in order, find out if you can take an official break from work or if you have to quit, and decide how you want to spend your time away from work. Good luck!


Photo: Ketut Subiyanto