To many taking that month off from your career track is anything short of unconventional. Mothers and fathers take their parental leave, intrepid employees go on month long vacations, and the list continues.
Well if you’re in your 20’s and have spent a year at one of the best financial firms, this step to some comes as a shock. Why would you leave instead of growing further in the company, especially when you’re performing well?
I tend to assess a lot of my decisions, but for this one I remain resolute.
This has less to do with my job but more about me as a person. For a year and a month straight I was commuting two hours to work and back. Trust me when I say I was making intelligent use of this time – listening to podcasts on every subject imaginable, indulging in the art of crafting poetry, flipping through GRE vocab flashcards, and after years finally picking up my lost hobby of reading. I was also exploring hipster sights in the city with friends and looking into apartments ready to make the big move. However, there came a time when those existentialist gears turned in my head.
I realized that in the schedule of all things work-related Monday through Friday and the occasional free time on Saturday and Sunday, I was losing what it meant to be simply me. A self that was not labeled by an outside institution or my responsibilities, but a self that was complete on its own. Free-spirited yet self-sufficient. The self that was lively and laughed at every little thing. I wanted her back.
I will be taking this month off to focus on certain goals of mines, but primarily my reason is taking care of my health (mental + physical) and regaining an open-minded approach to life. I want to live my life for a month straight without obligations and then make that dive back into the workforce. Think of it as swimming in an ocean where you’re occasionally head up for air, but this time you also get to enjoy the scenery while inhaling the air.
There will be amazing jobs out there and opportunities, which I will work diligently for but there are times when you need to take a pause and focus on yourself at the center of this crazy course. Your work, relationships, and all external events surround you but aren’t you. If you have to take that break to experience you a little, by all means do it because no one else is going to give you the green signal to do so. There is no race.
This year was a roller-coaster ride for me which I endured, but right now. I want to give myself the gift of stepping away.
Of course finances and all those technicalities you should think before you make a drastic decision. Budget well, but let’s be real sometimes taking risks come with a thrill of their own. It means you’re brave enough to experience something new.