Thought you were too old to take a gap year? Think again.
Many of us went from doing A levels straight to university and from there landed our first full-time job - so far, so sensible. The downside was we, like many others, didn't take a gap year. However, the tide is turning - those that missed out on travelling in their late teens and early twenties are throwing in the towel and heading off to far-flung places in their thirties.
That's so irresponsible we hear you cry - but actually it's the opposite. Taking a career break to travel, volunteer and see more of the world won't just benefit you as an individual - the experience will likely see you return home a more valuable asset to any company or leadership role, and with a clearer idea of what you want.
Here are 5 reasons why you should speak to your boss and book that ticket.
1. Recharging your batteries
The relentless grind and the stress associated with holding down a demanding full-time job combined with worrying about how you're going to afford to buy a house is very stressful. Most of us are operating close to burnout, so taking a year off to do something completely different will reinvigorate you far more than a few early nights. Plus you'll likely return with a new zest for life and a wonderfully opened mind - both of which are an asset to any organisation.
2. Reassessing your goals
Proper time away from the daily grind will give you the space you need to properly assess your life. It's especially useful if you feel stuck in a career rut. As adults we often chug on in the wrong career for most of our lives because we either don't know it's the wrong job or we're too scared to make the break and change direction. A year out will allow you time to reflect and formulate a plan for your return.
3. Gain new skills
If you're feeling like you are going nowhere and you're being pigeon-holed at work, taking a gap year and volunteering abroad might just be a way of acquiring the new skills you need to elevate you to the next phase of your career.
Your gap year is a chance for you to explore areas which you are passionate about, developing the relevant experience, allowing you to re-enter the jobs market with an edge over your competitors.
4. A new outlook
If you're planning to travel to far-flung places, you will likely experience different cultures and ways of living along the way. This will broaden your mind and give you a fresh perspective on things - something that's invaluable to employers. You'll be able to come in and see the company with the freshest eyes, picking up on issues that might be affecting your chosen organisation.
5. DO IT NOW
If you're still not convinced you should take a gap year, think again. Do it while you haven't got big financial ties like a mortgage, a partner or children. If you're already in a committed relationship, why not go on an adventure together? The biggest mistake you can make is thinking you'll do it 'some day'. Do it now, while you are fit and healthy and are young enough to re-enter the job market.