Career Break - Application

How I Applied for my Career Break

You may have noticed that our (old) tagline was ‘Career Break – Spring Break for 30 Years Olds.‘ Gettit? No? Damn it! We (Gemma and Craig) are in our 30s and are taking a career break. We imagine young ‘ins are as excited about spring break as we are about our career break? Well, Hollywood leads us to believe that. Here is how I did it.

1. Sabbatical Employment Policy

Check with your company, is there a policy in place for career breaks and sabbaticals? Both the terms ‘career break’ and ‘sabbatical’ are used to refer to time off work, with the right to return but they actually have differnt definitions. According to Careershifters – a sabbatical is when you return to work, a career break is when you quit. However, my employer uses both terms interchangeably.  As a high school teacher, I am a public sector worker, those who have worked for my council for three years or more are permitted to apply for a career break (really a sabbatical) for up to two years and I  return to my position. This is not heavily advertised, I only learned of it when I heard of another teacher taking time out when he was younger to teach English in Nepal. I am aware this may not help your case if you are a private sector employee, however, I am aware of a friend who worked for a private company who was granted six months (to travel Australia) leave. Craig is self employed so he asked himself and he said yes.

2. Sound Out Your Management

I spoke with my line manager then my senior manager (head teacher) and discussed the dates which best suited the business (school, in my case.) I had planned for one year but because we aimed to leave in March, 18 months suited the school better so I will return for the next school year in August 2016. Be flexible if you can!

3. Justify Your Career Break

I completed the official paperwork, the most detailed part was justifying how your career break will benefit you and your position. I have discussed my previous travels with all of my classes. We teach units on America (inequalities and politics), my month travel around The States has enhanced my teaching, bringing the textbook to life. Our one month travels in South East Asia afforded me the opportunity to see inequality within developing counties, another topic I teach to junior years.

4. Wait (hard, I know, muse over Pinterest

A decision was made pretty swiftly by our head office and thankfully it was yes. If it wasn’t, the other option was to leave my job which I didn’t want to happen (luckily, neither did my management).

5. Save For Travelling 

Car boots sales, tutoring, switching TV packages, going sober (see here for more saving tips) – you name it, we are doing it. £20k target and nearly 100 days to go! #Travelortrash #Canadaorcrap

6. Rejection

It can happen. An alternative could be to speak with management and ask if you can merge holidays together and take unpaid leave for a shorter period, this is what Craig did for South East Asia.

I’ve always regretted not taking a ‘gap ya’ after university but I feel a career break is a better option for me, I have a disposable income to save, a maturer head (debatable) and I get to go with Craig (awwwww).

Sapa Valley

My students love to hear about the kids in Sapa, Vietnam.

What tips can help others move from armchair to airport?

6 thoughts on “How I Applied for my Career Break

  1. Edgar

    Great read. My wife and I are doing this. Just have to tell our jobs. We plan on to within the next month. It’s one of those things where we don’t know if we want to go back but we know it’s the smart/sensible decision. Good luck with the savings. We are in the same mode now too! It’s proving difficult to us seeing how much we like to be out and about and the weather is getting warmer.

    1. Gemma I Two Scots Abroad

      Well I can speak from the other side! We’ve been on the road for 14 months now – savings are very depleted but worth every penny! Go you – it’s a tough decision to make but we’re never getting younger…

      1. Edgar

        Isn’t that the truth! It makes me optimistic seeing people as yourself pursuing your dreams. It’s risky but usually the best things in life are.

        1. Gemma I Two Scots Abroad

          Don’t want to die having wished you did things, what would be the point in living! Looking forward to following your trip! You find this useful. I’d advise also doing a budget round up each month (see here to keep the spending respectable!


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