This is simply a flawed analysis and a one-size-fits-all kind of advice. Many successful corporate leaders and entrepreneurs have taken career breaks and became even more successful after those breaks.
I have a junior associate who quit last year to tour around the world (using her savings not parents money in case you are wondering) and now ready to return to work. 3-4 firms are competing for her. Some MNCs like people who are well exposed.
Also, getting out without a job and getting in again, it’s all about how one articulates his/her decision to quit. Another perspective is what the person has done during the out-of-job period. Be it charity, helping out family, traveling, or learning a new skills. If there’s something that helped build the person’s strengths, it will only make him/her even more attractive in searching for a new job – Anonymous Reader
The above comment was made by one of my readers in response to my previous article “Why You Should Not Quit Without a Job In Singapore”. His perspective was that taking a career break is good because it helps one to recharge and make a better comeback in their job journey.
While I don’t dispute that taking career breaks are good for us, but I think what he didn’t realize is that most Singaporeans quit without a job because of “escapism mentality” and not because they wanted to pursue other interests or higher priorities in life.
They either hated their jobs or could not handle the stresses at their work places, so they quit without a job. The reality is that most of them did not make any grand plans to do volunteering work or learn a new skill. An example would be one of the local finance bloggers, who proclaimed that he decided to “semi-retire” from his job at the royal age of 28 years old.
In his latest posting, the blogger wrote that he is beginning to feel some strains in his finances because he is jobless for three months. To be frank, unless you are a rich man’s son, you probably would not have sufficient savings to be jobless for too long. This is especially so if you are a married man with mortgage loans and various bills to pay. It is also naive to think that passive incomes from your investments would help to defray monthly expenses because such returns are never guaranteed.
The age of twenties to forties is the golden period to accelerate our incomes and accumulate assets for wealth building. This is the best window to make money and if you think that 20 years is a long way to go, then you are wrong.
Career breaks are good, but when you re-joined back the job market, you might be offered a lower pay or prospects. Of course, people always tell you the glam side and very few will tell you the flip side. The hard truth is that quitting without a job will not make you an attractive job candidate. At the back of most employers’ mind, they would question whether you might do the same thing to them.
Even though his wife is very supportive of his decision to slack at home at the moment, I am not so sure if going forward, she is able to maintain the same position. How would you feel when, after a hard day at work, your husband was slacking and playing his favorite computer games? The matter of fact is, even though Singaporeans claim themselves to be open-minded, Singapore men are still expected to bring home the bacon and have successful careers.
Can you imagine the couple going for gatherings and then the blogger declared to their friends that he is jobless? What a loss of face and embarrassing moment. Behind the couple’s backs, it is very likely that their friends would gossip among themselves.
The fact is that even billionaires don’t really retire even after they have made enough fortune to last a few generations. Why is this so? Because human beings are social animals and we often associated ourselves with what we do and not who we are. You might be rich, but when you attend gatherings, you certainly don’t want to tell others that you are too free. and have nothing to do. It is about self-worth.
Sure, the blogger only need to answer to himself and don’t have to care about what others thought of him. But has he done anything meaningful or productive for the three months that he was out of job? The answer was no. Most of us thought that we would be better off not working and spending time doing self-improvement stuff like reading or jogging. But chances are, you are likely going to do nothing productive and instead waste your youth away. This is different from those who took sabbatical from their work to do further studies, set up new business ventures or do charity work. Quitting without a job and slacking at home would only reinforce the notion to your future employers that you don’t know what you want in life.
Yes, it is a matter of choice and personal preference. But I certainly will not quit without a job. I have done it once when I was a bachelor but now that I am married, I would not do it. There must be a purpose for you to be jobless. Otherwise, without the challenges and learning opportunities, you are just wasting your time and money.
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One thought on “Career breaks”
thanks for the article. I feel the same way and also have the same thougths. In sg, it is not too practical to quit without a job. The living expenses is growing faster than the growth of our income. unless the individual grows his own fruit tress that he trades in the street when it bears fruits. Or he keeps some chickens and ducks in his backyard to supplement his food supply. collect dry woods to cook his meals. This will surely be able keep expenses low.