Taking time out – is it career suicide?

road leading to mountains

Time out could lead somewhere in the long term.

I met a recruitment director from a high street bank recently and he had spent the first two years after university doing voluntary community work. He wasn’t all that old either, so clearly the fact that he had not gone straight into ‘serious’ employment after graduation didn’t arrest his upward career trajectory. In his view, it actually helped because by the time he was ready to commit to working in the commercial world, he was more focused on what he wanted and more eager to get there quickly.

I mention this because, at this time of the year, there will be many recent graduates contemplating a bit of ‘time out’ either as a response to not getting a job or because they are knackered after several years of unbroken study. Now it’s entirely up to you what you do with your life but I just wanted to say that, whatever your motive, if you did want to do something different for a year or two, something that may be related or unrelated to the career that you want to pursue, then it won’t necessarily hold you back.

The key issue, according to my high-flying recruitment director from a high street bank (and he should know), is that whatever you do, wherever you go, it all should have some sort of  ‘explainability’ built in. This means that when you find it’s the right time to apply for the job that you want to do, you can clearly explain the huge benefits to you as a person and a potential employee arising from the experience. In all his many recruitment interviews, he says that he never holds a period of time out against the applicant – as long as it was genuinely useful and can be explained as such.

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