Why a Career Break is Better than Grad School

Posted by The Editors on July 27, 2012
Why a Career Break is Better than Grad School
The Situation:You graduate from college and get a corporate job. You work like crazy until you’re burned out. When you’re sick of your job, you start reminiscing about how great things were in college. Your solution? Time to go back to grad school.

The Problem: You’re not 20 years old anymore. Grad school is really expensive. And you’re going back to school for all the wrong reasons.

The Solution: Take a career break.

What is a career break?
A career break can take on many different forms, but it’s exactly what it sounds like–a break from what you’ve been doing for a living.

What should I do for my career break?
What you do is a very personal decision and depends a lot on your interests and passions. Have you always wanted to try starting your own business? Then take a year and work on it.  Do you want to travel the world? Book a plane ticket and start going.  Do you have a hobby you’d like to devote more time to? Take a 3 month sabbatical from work to focus on your passion and while you’re at it, see if you can make money from your hobby.

Are you interested in nonprofits? Volunteer your time to work at a nonprofit abroad or domestically to gain experience in a new field and contribute your skills to organizations that desperately need you.

Objections to career breaks

Objection 1: I don’t have enough money
People always tell me that they don’t have enough money to take a career break. But how much money were you planning to spend on grad school? Top tier MBA programs cost $100K. When you finish you have mountains of debt and may be forced to take a soul sucking corporate job to pay off the cost.

Career breaks don’t have to break the bank. . Figure out how much your living costs will be during your time off  and save part of your salary each month for your career break funds.

Objection 2: It will look bad on my resume
Career breaks will not look bad on your resume. How do I know? I took a career break for 7 months and had no problem finding a job afterwards. Also, I’ve screened hundreds (maybe thousands) of resumes and the people who have interesting life experiences instead of cookie cutter corporate jobs are always more appealing candidates.  Career breakers identified things they cared about and took the initiative to pursue them. They’re interesting and well-rounded and generally are great people to work with.

Objection 3: I won’t have a grad degree
Is that what you really wanted? Or is the grad degree just an excuse to leave the job you don’t like? I see so many people going back to grad school with no clear purpose in mind. They go because they assume they should. Or they go because they want the prestige of a graduate degree. Or they go because they don’t know what they want in life.

If you have a purpose for going back to grad school, then by all means do it. If your dream is to become a doctor, please go to med school and don’t try practicing illegal medicine in Mexico. If you’ve always wanted to be a district attorney, then go to law school.

Is a career break for you?
Career breaks are especially helpful if you’re going through a quarter or mid-life crisis, but even those who have a clear career path set out can benefit from taking time away to focus on another interest.

Walking away from an established career seems risky. People told me I was crazy for quitting my cushy job in the middle of a recession. But sometimes the biggest risks create the biggest rewards.

Have you taken a career break? What did you do? Are you considering a career break? If so, what’s stopping you?

Read more about Lindsay’s career break in her original article here.

About the author: Lindsay Hunt is a Gen Y entrepreneur who left the corporate world to start her own social media marketing business. She blogs about her journey as an entrepreneur on The Boomerang Kid. You can connect with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

About the Author