A career break. The much dreaded, most wanted phase of one’s life. Or so I feel. I had been wanting to take one for a long time. Just to step back, follow up on all the things I ever wanted to do, and rethink where life was headed.
The first time, the suggestion came to me was from my father when I had just completed my undergrad. He said, “travel the world, and see what you like”. But as a driven, ambitious, “I can’t have a break on my CV”, sort of girl, I didn’t pay heed.
As anyone who has ever worked would know, once you hit the earn your keep, and rat race. Its a tough one to come out of. After that, so many things took over and the time was never right.
I would envy my friends who had the guts to do it. Start something of their own. So I started thinking. I surfed the web, and from dooms day prophecies, to planning the finances, everything seemed like a herculean task. But no matter who I met, who had taken the risk, they were happy they did.
Finally, this year, after hitting a point of no return. I quit. I gave an extended notice period cause I had worked here for 6 years and I am grateful they valued me so much. On a wing and prayer and freelance work. I left.
It took a few months for the panic and fear to subside. Within a two months, my health improved drastically after the long commute was cut, to the point people started complementing on my “glow”. I plunged into things I always wanted to do but hardly got time for. I am learning French, learning to play the Veena. I started painting again, reading and writing again. And most of all, studying again. I am trying to complete the Masters in English Lit that I am so passionate about.
I enjoy my home, the pace of work, the sun filtering in, the silence of 11:00 am. I wonder why breaks are so looked down on? Its been 3 months and I can feel the difference. Someone was telling me in one of the European countries, working part-time is the norm and people are higher on the happiness and contentment index. And I so believe it.
In this age of networking and cloud, work from home, networked offices, they should become the norm and not the exception. Finally, one day people will see how productivity increases. Maybe we should do an experiment in India.