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I want to share my experience regarding my career break. My day job in the UK is as a senior finance manager for NECS. I generally work on assignments supporting transformation programmes, from both a programme management and finance perspective. The job requires quick thinking, strategic knowledge, obviously technical knowledge but also relationship development and management.
I was in a position to be lucky enough to be able to take a year out, and to be supported by my employer, to do so.
I qualified and worked as a TEFL teacher over 30 years ago and planned my year out in advance. I had a job working in a small private school on the outskirts of Bangkok, Monday to Friday, arranged and the school agreed to help me with my visa application and with finding a flat.
Obviously even with the best of planning Covid and a Thai lockdown wasn't really part of my plan. I managed to get a repatriation flight via the UK embassy in June 2020, 3 months ahead of my expected return.
What did the career break do for me? Personally it allowed me to do a job I love again, take a break from the "norm", make friends (even though we mostly don't speak the same language), see places I would never have seen as a tourist and to challenge myself to just do something I'd wanted to do for a long time.
From a professional point of view I have been back at work since July, and feel reinvigorated to take on challenges. Living in a country where you have communication difficulties, especially in a time of crisis, has increased my confidence in being able to cope with the unknown. Working in a country where no one has a plan for the next hour, never mind the next week has also made me realise that trying to control everything just isn't possible, and often things just work out if you let them happen ( my approach to programme management may have to change!).
Obviously these opportunities are limited, esecially now, and not for everyone. But if you are thinking about doing something similar my advice is....plan for your arrival....and enjoy it. Things are unlikely to go to plan but that isn't a bad thing! I will never ever forget my Thai experience and I really think it has made a change to how I work and live.