Three career advantages to taking a year off before starting work
Taking time off before starting your career doesn’t have to be a waste of time. On the contrary, taking time off may be just what your career needs. This is why many Millennials, the generation currently aged 18 to 35, are putting their careers on hiatus to learn more about life’s big questions before tackling them.
I interviewed three Millennials who are currently taking time off from building their careers. From each of them, I learned a different benefit to taking a break.
Here are three takeaways:
Find your strength
Ariel Rosen, 26, studied a combination of history, anthropology and sociology at the University of Guelph. After completing her degree, and a couple summer stints with the university’s public relations department, a career in PR seemed her probable destination.
But something didn’t feel right. “If I was going to pay for even more education, it had to be exactly what I wanted to do,” said Rosen. She chose to take time off until she was sure PR was for her.
During her hiatus, she discovered a passion for teaching through volunteer work at a yoga studio and in a grade one classroom. This new passion took her to Korea to teach children and eventually to the University of Toronto where she completed a Master of Teaching.
Taking time off gives you the flexibility to try out different skills you may otherwise have missed. As a result, you may identify a passion or a strength which can help you in your career.
Find your competitive edge
Ben Scott, 25, studied civil engineering at Queen’s University. After working for nearly two years in his field, he decided to satisfy his wanderlust before his job became too serious. For the past 10 months, he and his girlfriend have been traveling to the far corners of the world.
Among other things, Scott has learned how to work under pressure and be resourceful in how he approaches problems. “I used to become way too stressed when … situations happened. But you learn to roll with the punches and find a way to fix them,” said Scott. “This is a big one I will bring back to the workplace.”
Scott also learned how to network. Working through language barriers and around different cultures has helped Ben learn how to communicate better with others. “I was able to develop some very key relationships … and some of these have turned into job offers,” said Ben.
Find your independence
Erin Dietzel, 26, studied politics, religious studies and languages at Queen’s University. After spending a summer studying in the UK, she decided to stay. After working for three years in three countries, Erin is now working in New York City.
Working in other countries has taught her practical day-to-day skills not learned in university. “I have become a much more organised person, much more self-sufficient,” she said. “You learn to fly without a safety net and to trust your own judgement.”