Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Normalizing Career Gaps



In 2022 I took six months off from working full-time. Not everybody understood why I was taking a sabbatical and literally anyone I spoke to kept asking me how I planned to do so. One day I was watching the YouTube creator “Evelyn From the Internets.” In the video, she discussed saving $20,000 and quitting her full-time job. When I saw that video, my head started spinning. I was like, “what is that?” “Funemployed” Sabbatical? Wait huh? Prior to that, I knew I was starting to feel tired and burned out (Therapy burnout is a different post for a different day). 



The first step I took was to prepare, prepare oh yeah and prepare. I also knew that I was going to have to relocate from NYC for obvious reasons.  



First thing I did was I started to save. I already had a high yield savings account for my emergency fund. I opened a separate HYS account and labeled it “Sabbatical Fund.” I believe in writing your goals down to make them more real. Every paycheck I put money in it until I reached $10,000. 

Furthermore, I had to cut my expenses. By heading to the dealership, I was able to sell my 2017 Chevy Malibu, for a very good price. Additionally, I sold items I owned or thrifted on Ebay, Mercari, Poshmark (Shameless plus for referral link). I already stopped being a nails and lash girly after the pandemic, so it was no longer something that I worried about. I then relocated to another state. Although I was living with family, I did contribute but I spent way less than I did when I was living in New York City.  

During my sabbatical, I was able to rest for REAL. I went to the pool, the park, daily Zumba and eventually got bored. I had not been bored in ages. I realized I needed a little more stimulation. I took a few swimming lessons (which did not pan out well, but at least I tried). I also took an Introduction to Coding course which I loved and was very eye opening. I also learned how to take better care of my natural hair lol (even though I am still struggling with it). 



After 5 months, it was time to return to work. One of the first questions I was asked was “why have you not worked in so many months?” Although I do not think you have to tell employees all your personal business, you should be transparent. I informed them I took the time to relocate, obtain a new state OT license and driver's license. Which technically was true. 

At the time of this post, I find myself in a similar position where I will have another gap in my work history. I have relocated once again, and I have not worked since October 2023. I have been to a few interviews and the question has always come up. “What have you been doing for the past few months?” Again, I was able to use the same reason as before due to relocation, needing to obtain a new state license, so on and so forth. 

Although the position wasn’t for me and I didn’t end up getting the position, I still wonder...why are career gaps so looked down on 


Benefits of a Career Sabbatical 

  • Helps to prevent burnout 
  • Allows you to care for family or loved ones 
  • Enables you to further your education or learn/update your skills 
  • Provides you with time needed to move or relocate 
  • Personal growth 

 

As always, thank you for reading, Dionne  

P.S. I am still and forever will be @thebronxot 


Beautiful Stock photos by Vecteezy