You are in a great position. SuccessFactors consultants are well paid, in demand and often work remotely (you can avoid those astronomical city centre rents!). Why not live the dream?
Live to work or work to live?
Career breaks can be viewed as an ideological choice. Some people feel that you work hard until retirement and then it’s time for a rest. Others feel that work-life balance is the key to happiness. When you’re a SuccessFactors consultant you do have an option – you are in demand and likely to be able to pick up where you left off. If you think of life as a race, taking a career break is a set back. You’ve detached yourself from opportunities that may have progressed your career. Remember you may have to persuade others about your choice – they may not understand (see below!).
If you’re going to do it, have a plan
There’s a difference, from a career perspective, between taking some time off and having a plan. People may ask why you were out of work for 6 months or a year. If you just say you wanted a break it may raise questions regarding your commitment. If you tell them your reason – a round the world adventure, consistent quality time with the family, working for a charity or project managing your dream home – it’s impressive and very understandable. Sometimes we do just need a break but make sure you have a reason to avoid them thinking you couldn’t get work. Be confident, be prepared and be proud of your career break!
Keep up to date or set aside time for revision
When you are working day-to-day you organically absorb new functions, developments in the software or in the business trends. A tiny bit of learning everyday makes you a good consultant. If you don’t have that, for even a month, you can spend a little time getting back up to speed. Don’t worry – the knowledge is there – but make sure you set aside some time to get back up to speed and demonstrate that awareness if the employer seems questioning of your abilities.
Recognise the benefits for you and your employers
A career break is not a selfish act. It’s your life and, although it sometimes seems otherwise, work is only a small part of that. We know that tired, demotivated workers are not very productive. If you can achieve true work-life balance that means that you enjoy every part of your life, including work. When you pack your life with adventure (or relaxation) your quality of work benefits. It brings perspective and rather than looking at your next project as a chore, look at it as a part of your rich and diverse life.
The third way
Go part-time. We’re always on the look out for consultants wanting to work part time on remote contracts. Sometimes clients really want someone for 1 day per week which would be a perfect alternative to a full on career break if you want to spend time with the family or build that extension. You won’t have any gaps on your CV to explain and you’ll keep up with all the new developments. If you’re not planning to navigate the Amazon or climb Everest perhaps this is the route for you!