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Planning career break

9 tips for planning your career break

March 30, 2023

Rewards will be greater if you have all your basis covered

From the Seasonedpros.ca Insights Lab

  • How much time do you want or need?
  • Is the timing right?
  • Does your financial situation support a break?
  • Does your employer encourage sabbaticals?
  • Who will replace you?
  • Will you retrain of upskill?
  • Will the career break be permanent?
  • Are you planning to work a side hustle?
  • Register with a talent agency


Sometimes a vacation isn’t enough.

You need an extended break from your career to take care of things or to take care of yourself.

You might be facing a life crisis or caring for a loved one. You could be feeling unfulfilled or burned out in your job and need some time out. Maybe you want to travel, change career paths or go back to school to acquire new skills for a new job.

A plan will reap rewards

If you want to achieve the benefits of a career break, it’s a good idea to make a plan well in advance. 

In a crisis, you may not have the luxury of developing a plan. But if you have time, a plan will help you make the necessary arrangements to cover all your basis and maximize your break.

9 tips for planning your break

  1. How long do you need or want? – You might only need a break of three to six months. But in some cases, you may want a couple of years. Consider your reasons and needs before committing to a time frame.
  2. Is this the right time to take a break? – Consider your career trajectory and opportunities for advancement. Make sure that your break will not cut you off from a promotion or a transition to a new role that you might like.
  3. Financial planning – Do you have the resources to finance your break? Will you have to acquire debt or dip into your savings? What are the tax implications? If you plan to return to the same job, will you keep paying into pension and benefit plans while you aren’t earning an income?
  4. Does your employer have sabbatical policies? – Many organizations support employees who want to take a break. Talk to your boss or HR manager to find out about leave policies and requirements such as the years of service required to qualify for programs.
  5. Training and mentoring your replacement – If you are planning to return after a break, help your employer find someone to fill your job and offer to help them get up to speed with the responsibilities of your job.
  6. Will you quit your job and look for a new position? – If you are leaving your job permanently, make sure you have a solid backup strategy. Before you embark on your break, survey the job market and determine what skills or retraining you will need for another job. 
  7. Are you returning to university or community college – Research the courses you will need to retrain for a new position. You might want to do micro-courses online to top up your skills. Decide if you want to switch your career paths and find courses or training that align with the types of jobs are seeking.
  8. Will you work a side hustle during your break – A part-time or fractional role add a little income on your break? It might even open doors to a new role as an independent consultant.
  9. Plan your return – Touch base with your employer during your break. If you are looking for a new position, make a relationship with a talent agency and stay on top of job boards.


Cover all your basis and enjoy your break

If the goal of a career break is personal time, professional development or travel, you will enjoy your sabbatical more if you know what you are getting yourself into. If you are planning to re-enter the workforce you will need to develop a plan to return after your break. 

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