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Do career breaks derail your career?

Career breaks are more of a norm today than they were a decade ago, and people take breaks for all sorts of reasons, from having a baby to having a burn out. So, in a world of the gig economy where people are staying in jobs for lesser years, working for themselves and making more career jumps than before, does a career break actually derail your career?

I recently spoke at a Lean In event about how your career journey is a marathon and not a sprint and I truly believe in that. Being a woman entrepreneur and having gone through several different careers myself, I believe that it’s firstly very important to have a career vision for what you want to achieve that fulfills you, because once you have that vision in mind, making career choices becomes a little bit easier. Also remember that this may change as you develop in your career and grow, so re-evaluate this along the way.

A few things that are helpful to consider when going through a career break are:

1. Keeping yourself updated: Whether you are a woman entrepreneur or a working professional when you are on a break, make it a point to stay updated in your area of expertise or sector and if possible, invest in training and reskilling yourself.

2. Staying connected to your networks and building new ones: People who have seen you work are some of your best networks, as they can connect you and vouch for you when needed. So, invest in your networks even when you are on a break and continue to invest in and build new ones, as you never know when you may need it.

3. Being flexible: Many people have a notion that they would like to go back to their previous salary, organization or job title and in a fast-moving world of today that may most likely not be possible. So, if you have your career vision in mind, as long as the opportunity you are getting can be a stepping-stone to that, it may be worth a serious consideration.

And lastly, remember that most career paths are not linear, and sometimes interesting opportunities may come up when you’re least expecting them.

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