Life Goes on Even When We’re Taking A Career Break

As I sit here, reflecting on my personal journey through the current year, I can't help but feel a mix of emotions. It's been eight months since I took a break from my corporate job in early April 2023, and it's been such an adventure filled with ups and downs. Despite having some of the best moments during this *still ongoing* period, one thing is certain: taking a career break doesn't mean that my life is on pause too.


Acknowledging the fear(s)

At first, the idea of taking a break from my corporate job was both exciting and terrifying. I had been working non-stop for almost nine years in the writing and media industry. But, I had also been feeling burnt out, unfulfilled, and restless. 


In 2021, my team at and I were laid off by our employer, one of the online media outlets focusing on women and lifestyle. Following that, I had a freelance job for three months before joining a new company that I later quit. I also had two other brief stints at different workplaces, but I didn't quite feel suited for the roles I took on.


I knew I needed a change, but I wasn't sure what that looked like or how to make it happen.


I was also concerned about the potential impact on my social life. I had always been someone who enjoyed going out and meeting new people, and I worried that my lack of income would make it difficult for me to participate in social activities. However, I later realized that there were many ways to stay connected with friends and family without having to spend a lot of money.


Finding the courage

Everyone has their own approach to taking a career break, and for me, that means planning out various aspects of my break in advance. I like to budget for my vacation and create a daily schedule breakdown, all of which are guided by specific purposes and desired outcomes.


While some people might view this approach as restrictive or unrelaxing, I find that it helps me prepare for my break in a way that minimizes stress and disappointment. By having a clear plan in place, I can truly unwind and enjoy my time off, knowing that I've taken care of all the necessary details.


This approach may not be for everyone, but for a planner like myself, it's an essential part of making the most of my career break. By taking the time to plan and prepare, I can ensure that my break is both relaxing and productive, and that I return to work feeling refreshed and ready to tackle new challenges.


So after months of contemplation and preparation, I finally took the plunge and decided to take a break. It was a scary decision, indeed, but it was also liberating. Suddenly, I had the luxury of leisure time to enjoy things I loved doing. I could sleep in, read books, take long walks, and travel. It was a dream come true really.


Life goes on

But as the days turned into weeks and the weeks turned into months, I began to realize that taking a career break didn't mean that my life was on pause too. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I had to face the harsh reality that even though I wasn't working, my life was still moving forward. Bills still needed to be paid, groceries still needed to be bought, and responsibilities still needed to be taken care of. The world keeps spinning, life goes on.


I must admit that I have been blessed with some achievable plans, thanks to some freelance projects that have helped me maintain my livelihood. I’ve also been fortunate to have the support of my dear people, who have not only kept me company but also engaged me in intellectually stimulating conversations that have helped ‘preserve’ my sanity.


Despite the slow financial flows, I also learned that taking a career break didn't mean that I had to sacrifice my personal growth. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I had the time and freedom to explore my passion for writing, learn new skills, and pursue my interests. I took up a writing class taught by Dewi Lestari, reactivated this blog page, joined an anthology project, and discovered a newfound excitement in hiking. It was exhilarating to have the time and freedom to do what I’ve always loved.


Navigating the new path

As the months went by, I also realized that taking a career break didn't mean that I could escape the realities of life. I still had to deal with the ups and downs, the highs and lows. I still had to face my fears, my doubts, and my insecurities. I still had to navigate the challenges of relationships, friendships, and family dynamics.


However,  taking a career break was a transformative experience. It taught me that life is precious, that time is short, and that we should never take anything for granted. It taught me that we don't have to be defined by our careers, that we are more than our jobs, and that we have the power to create our own meaning and purpose.


As I look back on my personal story, I realize that taking a career break was a risk, but it was also a reward. It was a chance to rediscover myself, to redefine my priorities, and to reimagine my future. It was a reminder that life is constantly evolving, that we are constantly growing, and that we have the power to shape our own destiny.


The end of the 2023 is near, and this might be the time for us to reflect and redefine some essential matters in our lives. If you're considering taking a career break, I’d say go for it. Especially for those who feel like they just need some time to take a pause. It may be scary, indeed, and it may be challenging; but it will also be worth it. We'll learn, we'll grow, and we'll discover things about ourselves that you never knew were possible. 


I wish us all the best of luck :)



Kintamani, Bali, Indonesia

November 25, 2023


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