June 5, 2018, by Carla Froggatt
Six Inspiring Ways to Spend Time Out
Taking time out can offer great personal and professional opportunities. You might take anything from a couple of months to over year – how long isn’t important, it’s how you spend it.
Decide why you want time out and what you want to accomplish. If you’ve just read Eat, Pray, Love and decided help you make time away work for you, and for your career. You could shape up your skills, try on different professional hats, make the world a better place – and if you plan your time well, you might leap right into your future career.
1. The developer
An internship could be the career stepping stone you’ve been looking for. Competitive industries like the media often view these short gigs as a rite of passage. Equally, if you keep hearing “great application, but not enough experience,” figure out what experience employers want. Whether it’s developing soft skills or learning a something technical, this is a great way to focus your time.
Try thinking differently. You could cultivate project management skills by planning a trip to Everest Base Camp or develop coding skills with a free Codeacademy course.
2. The impact-maker
Volunteering is a great way to give back and gain skills. There are lots of organisations that need your support and commitment, so take some time to think about what cause is close to your heart. Volunteering can be as challenging as it is rewarding, so think about what motivates you. Maybe you want to support your local community? Are you hoping to work in the charity sector? Has a news appeal for help piqued your interest?
3. The adventurer
If you’ve been bit by the travel bug, backpacking is an exhilarating way to explore the world. You’ll get to put your planning and budgeting skills to work. Consider where you want to go and what you want to learn – think less aimless roamer, more intrepid explorer. Take time to immerse yourself in the local lifestyle and consider picking up some part-time work along the way.
If a round the world trip isn’t the ticket for you, consider a seasonal job – summer and winter resorts are a way to get experience in a more structured environment.
4. The taster
If you’re not sure what you want to do, work experience is a great way to investigate some options. Dip your toe in the office water cooler and find out if it quenches your thirst. If it doesn’t, at least you’ve ruled something out. Set up a series of short-term internships, try out different sectors, and decide what interests you.
5. The linguist
What better way to learn a language than to immerse yourself among native speakers? Travel is one of the most common reasons to take time out – for lots of obvious reasons – just don’t treat it as an extended holiday.
Plan your time carefully. If you want to learn a language, why not teach yours while you’re out there too? Teaching English as a Foreign Language is a great way to get to know the locals, contribute to the community, and get paid.
6. The pick and mixer
If your response to each suggestion has been yes, yes, and yes, the good news is that you don’t have to just pick one. In fact, by taking a pick and mix approach, you might get more out of your time out than by restricting yourself to just one thing.
Think beyond what you want to do. What do you want to achieve? By setting some objectives it could help you decide which ideas to progress with, and in what combination.
Plan made and ready to go?
Plan made and ready to go? Keep a time-out travelogue – record your experiences, the skills you’ve developed, and the lessons you’ve learned. This will help you reflect later, ensuring you can talk about it effectively with employers when the time comes.
Find out more about taking time out and how to talk to employers about it here.