Taking a career break. A Gen Y view on the traditional career ladder

by Jan 8, 2012Work-Life Integration2 comments

A different take

Why not have a different take on the career ladder and progression?

Why not have a different take on the career ladder and progression?

A different take on career progression

I am currently on a career break. This break has possibly been one of the best career decisions I have made in my working life as a corporate lawyer in London. As part of the new generation of workers, which will have to work until the age of 70 or even longer, my suggestion is why not have a different approach to the traditional career ladder and chill the pace?

This is not to say I am not serious about my career.

 “I am very serious about my career. And my career break.”

I am a very serious person altogether and this not part of an unfocused quest to “find myself.”

Having the ultimate stressful career and working oneself to the bone at everyone’s beck and call has lost its appeal somewhat. Gone are the promises of inflated salaries, disproportionate 6 figure bonuses, quick-fire progression to the top for the hard workers and becoming wealthy by “climbing the property ladder” at lightning speed. The recent recession has stripped my generation of these types of golden opportunities that were the blessings of our parents’ time.


So what is the trade-off? Work less. Enjoy life more. Find a better balance. Why spend weekends typing furiously into a Blackberry, listening to message alerts 24/7 or  pulling all-nighters in the office, with futile hopes of making partner six years after qualification or receiving a massive bonus to buy that house in Richmond? Those days are gone, pal. So, in short, what is the point?

“Oh yes — do it for career satisfaction and general life and emotional fulfillment. Yeah right.”

In a move that has surprised my London bosses, I am relocating to Dubai. I will be doing the exact same thing but in a hot climate where I can go to the beach after work. This is not to be considered as part of my career break, more of a tactical and strategic career move, a very exciting one, specifically to increase my market value.

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In between the London and Dubai jobs, I have chosen to take some time out and travel the world a little. Hardly intrepid explorer type stuff, no treks to Antarctica or climbing Everest, but just taking a few extended vacations to forget what working is like.

And it is totally fabulous, like being a wealthy gap “yah” student, who is infinitely more mature, worldly and appreciative of :

a) everything they are experiencing

b) most importantly, the time off from the grind.


I feel relaxed, energised, excited, well-rested and ready to start in the next phase of my career (well — after I complete the next phase of my traveling.) However, the most important thing to remember about a career break is that eventually the travel fund runs out and all good career breaks must come to an end.

Well. Until the next one.

Gen Y lawyer wishes to remain anonymous.

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