We all know how important a career is in a man’s life. It helps form part of our identity, it takes up a significant proportion of our lives and if we are lucky it is the reason we get up in the morning, but it can also lead to a loss of balance in our lives and become all consuming if we are not careful. This is why it is not only important to take a sabbatical or career break, but absolutely essential if you want to live a balanced life and fulfil your full potential as a man.
There is nothing wrong with having a career. In fact having one, especially one that you love, enjoy and have worked hard for is something that should be celebrated! But it is important to remember that it isn’t the be all and end all of life either. If you are looking at all those ‘quit your job and travel the world’ articles every Monday morning instead of writing up that report, or wondering if there was more to life than just firing off endless emails and attending pointless meetings, then you are already tapping into that thought that perhaps you need a change in your life.
Maybe when you look at your life objectively, you may just see that you do love your job but perhaps you have been in the same position for just a little too long now, you may love your colleagues and work culture, but don’t have much of a life outside of it, as much as you enjoy that project you are working on or your daily routine maybe you are just craving something new, a fresh outlook or a bit more responsibility too. Maybe if you are really honest with yourself you may start thinking those opportunities to move up the ladder are never really going to materialise.
This is absolutely normal. You are a man, not a worker drone. You aren’t meant to stay still and be thankful for your lot your entire life.
This is why taking a sabbatical or a career break to travel the world is so important, and is one of the best things you can ever do for yourself..
Stating your intentions.
By stating your intention to take a career break to travel the world or take a gap year, you are very cleverly putting your foot down. The second you put that request in you are showing your boss that you are in charge of what you do with your life, that you are not necessarily happy with the way things are and that they should not take you for granted. If your boss or your company value you, they should be going out of their way to help you and convince you to come back when you are done, if not, then do you really want to be somewhere that doesn’t value you?
You start putting yourself first.
So many men take the weight of the world on their broad shoulders, we stay late, we take on those extra projects, we make sure the work is done and we like being the indispensable member of the team everyone can rely on, and there is nothing wrong with that to an extent, but it can become a weight around our own necks if we are not careful.
No one is indispensable, and as harsh as that sounds you need to learn that now. If you are the one pulling all your weight and then some in the workplace, the one who everyone dumps that extra work on or the one who keeps taking on all the tasks everyone else should be doing, then you need to take time for yourself.
Your workplace will carry on without you.
By having a career break to travel you can start to concentrate on yourself, you can take all of that time that you were pouring in those extra tasks and use it for rest, for fun or self improvement instead.
Protecting your health.
This is important because if you don’t do this, your health and wellbeing will suffer as a result. Men are well known to be far more susceptible to workplace stress than women and far less likely to seek help. They are far more likely to suffer a range of mental health issues as a result, make up the absolute majority of suicides, and develop long term health conditions including heart disease and diabetes due to poor lifestyle choices.
Taking time off to travel will change all that. You can take all that free time and use it to de stress, to get fitter and healthier and concentrate on your own wellbeing.
Travel is well known to improve your health and wellbeing, and by getting back to the basics, of enjoying the wonders and the experiences taking a gap year has to offer you, you can reverse the slow decline to workplace burnout, stress and early death through ill health.
Building self confidence and self awareness.
Travelling the world is all about the experiences you can create for yourself as you navigate your own path through the world. This involves being out there on your own, relying on your own wits and your own initiative, and once you get out there and realise you can do that on your own terms you will realise there is nothing you can’t do.
Not everyone will be happy about your choices of course, but that is their problem, not yours. You will have proven to the world, and yourself, that you can do it, that you are in charge of the path your life takes and your own destiny.
Taking a career break to travel is not the easiest thing in the world to do, but by successfully engineering the move you prove to yourself and others that you have control of your own destiny and your own happiness.
Once you have done that, you will have made yourself into a bigger, better version of the person you were before, one that can eventually return to the world of work recharged and ready for a better position, or maybe even a better job entirely.
Evaluating your priorities.
Because taking time off work to travel the world will force you to pause your life and take stock, to reevaluate your life choices and where you have found yourself in life, it also helps you figure out which path you want to take moving forward. That may well be with the same job or career you had before you started travelling, or it may well be on an entirely new career path altogether.
Seeing the world may reignite old passions, it may teach you a new skill or hobby that you may decide to pursue as a career, but whatever choices you make, the chance to sit back, take stock and see what path you want to take is priceless.
Once you get out of that rut society forces you into, that mindset of work being all important, of that corporate treadmill being the be all and end all of life, you will realise that the world really is your oyster, that you are not an indentured slave chained to your desk. You will realise that you and you alone are the one who chooses the path you want to be on.
Giving you the skills you need.
And when you do decide to reenter society again, whether that is in your old career or a new one, you will have a raft of new skills and experiences to draw on that will make you a much better employee in the long run.
Okay, you can’t exactly put bungee jumping or spending months laying on a hammock on a tropical island on your CV, but if you spin it right world travel makes you a much more rounded individual that will make your CV explode to the right employer.
If you spend any time at all volunteering on your gap year or working in any of the traditional backpacker industries like teaching English abroad, these are always things that employers love seeing. But it isn’t just the actual physical skills and experience you pick up along the way, it is the soft skills too.
Language and communication skills are always desirable, so why not mention that you spent six months learning Spanish to get by in your travels through south America? Your negotiation skills were really polished and honed in those south east Asian markets and your problem solving skills that time everything went wrong in a foreign country really shone didn’t they? So why not mention them?
Your career break or time out to travel is not the end of your job or career as many people fear, it really can be the boost it needs!
Bringing adventure back into your life.
It should be obvious by now that taking time out to travel the world has serious benefits to your physical health, your mental wellbeing, your outlook on life and even your CV and future career, but just as importantly it brings that element of masculinity back into your life that many men have lost in modern society. Adventure.
From Homers Odyssey and the Argonauts epic adventures to modern day adventure novels, travel has always been an intrinsic part of the heroic archetype of masculinity, and what is more adventurous than taking time out to explore the world on your own terms? Discovering new lands and new civilisations, travelling to exotic locales and getting yourself into the odd scrape or two, travelling the world may be just the adventure your soul needs.
If you are finding yourself in a rut, a bit fed up of your career or are feeling stressed or even worse, then do yourself a favour and take a break from your career. Travel the world, live life for yourself for a while. You won’t regret it.