What Would You Do With a Mid-Career “Gap Year?”

BusinessThinking about structuring business process and solutionsWe’re entering graduation season and high school seniors everywhere are counting down the days to a major milestone and preparing to start the next phase of their lives. For many, that next step may be going to college or a career technical school to learn the skills they need to build a career. Some may jump directly into the workforce. Others, however, may choose to take a gap year.

A gap year typically refers to a period between high school and college when recent grads take time before continuing their education to travel, pursue personal interests, do volunteer work, or simply test the waters of their newfound independence.

It can be a very beneficial time for young adults to learn more about themselves and help them better understand what they want out of life so they start the next stage of life with clearer goals to work toward.

In some cases the concept of the gap year also makes sense for working professionals who have established careers. Whether they want to pursue a new career, indulge in a personal interest, or spend time with family—a mid-career gap year may be exactly what’s needed to recharge and refocus.

So what could you do with a mid-career gap year?

Go back to school
True, it may be the exact opposite of what’s expected of the traditional definition of a “gap year,” but for some, it can be a chance to go back to school with a better understanding of their education goals. Whether exploring new interests in their current industry or embarking upon an entirely new profession, many working professionals have pulled up stakes in long-established careers and headed back to school to try something new. It’s a big decision with many considerations to ponder before taking that leap, but the end result could be a fulfilling change of pace once you reenter the workforce.

Explore a new career
Maybe you don’t know what you want in a career—you just know it needs to be different from what you’re doing now. Taking time to explore a variety of new careers can help pinpoint work that is more meaningful to you and enables you to realign your goals to pursue it. Staffing companies are ideal for exploring new careers because you are able to work for a broad range of companies across many different industries. In fact, some people find they actually prefer the ever-changing nature of temporary work to a full-time job with a single company.

Finish the bucket list
A mid-career gap year doesn’t have to be about finding a new job. It could be an opportunity to finally complete that bucket list that has been taped to the wall above your computer for years. There’s nothing wrong with taking time off to pursue life experiences and returning to the workforce with a feeling of personal accomplishment that will help you refocus and engage in your career.

Obviously, for most people there are many other factors involved that may prevent them taking a year off from work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t embrace the spirit of taking a gap year by finding little ways to incorporate new experiences into your daily routine.

Have you ever considered taking a mid-career gap year? What would you do with your time? Let us know in the comments section below.

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