Take a gap year with proper purpose and motivation

By thrarxx

I believe that taking a gap year can be a great thing, as long as you do it with a purpose in mind. Whatever the purpose might be strongly depends on your personal goals. Perhaps it's about creating music as far as you are concerned, for others it might be securing a temporary job, travel, raising a child, or many other things.

Personally, I've taken a 2-year sabbatical after 3 years in my first job. I spent that time traveling around China and neighboring countries. I've improved my language skills tremendously, went through a great deal of cultural immersion, met tons of very diverse people, grew much tougher mentally and a whole lot more confident.

I reckon the acquisition of such soft skills (cross-cultural competencies, proficiency in languages, organizational abilities and grooming suitable mental fortitude from dealing with unfamiliar, constantly changing environments) can still be highly valuable both to yourself and your future employer. At this point, 6 years later, I've started my own business and have been self-employed for 3 years, something I doubt I could have done without going through that set of experiences.

My recommendations for someone considering to pursue a gap year would be to set clear, specific goals of what you want to achieve, and weigh that against what you are potentially sacrificing (money, time, other opportunity costs). If you really decide to do it, make sure you work steadily towards your goals and hold yourself accountable for your progress. Consider asking a friend or relative to check that with you every few weeks, reporting your progress to another person now and then can help you keep up motivation levels and maintain that much needed focus.

Future employers won't mind and may in fact appreciate the short respite you have chosen to embark upon, as long as you can decently explain the rationale behind your actions and demonstrate that you've been working towards a goal during this while, rather than just slacking off aimlessly.


Of Farewells.

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