Follow Your Dreams and Take a Break; According to the Institute of Personnel and Development, Taking a Career Break Can Be of Benefit to Both You and Your Employer. Jo Ind Investigates
Is there anybody who has not sat in their office dreaming of coraeefs and sandy beaches?
Hasn't everyone fantasised about taking an extended break from work so they can satisfy some long-term desire, whether it's writing a novel or hiking in Tibet?
According to the Institute of Personnel and Development (IPD) taking an employment break needn't put your career on hold.
In fact, with the right sort of support and planning, it can be a positive experience for both the employer and the employee. The IPD is encouraging companies to make it easier for staff to follow their dreams.
Sally-Ann Green is about to set out on a career break which has been worked out with the full co-operation of her employer.
The 28-year-old teacher from Kings Heath, Birmingham, is setting off for Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Honolulu, Vancouver and Canada in September.
She is going to spend a year, unpaid, travelling the world before she returns to Woodrush School, Hollywood, to teach design and technology in food and textiles.
Earlier this year she approached her head-teacher and asked if she could take a year out. She had two reasons for wanting to do so.
"I'd had a very bad year personally," she said. "I felt I really needed a change of scene, to get some more selonfidence and become a stronger person.
"My ex-boyfriend had always been interested in travelling and I thought 'Ooh no, I don't fancy that at all' but then I felt I really needed a change and I had this sudden urge to do it."
Her second reason for travelling is that she is very interested in food and textiles and wants to hunt out the chefs and fabric-makers in the countries she visits.
She hopes to be able to bring back textiles from different parts of the world and to expand the cross-cultural element of her teaching.
The break had to be agreed by the school governors, who accepted it on the condition that none of the pupils would be adversely affected.
Fortunately Sally-Ann had a part-timer within the department who took her fulime job for a year and the school was able to employ another person part-time on a one-year contract.
Sally-Ann has to be in touch with the school by March 31, 1999 to confirm that she does want her job back.
It looks all set to be an arrangement from which everyone can benefit and as such is the kind of scheme that the IPD is keen to promote.
"An employment break is any longer term voluntary break from employment, taken for whatever reason," said an IPD spokesman.
"The result of the Institute's work on employment breaks shows that planning, good management and keeping in touch are the key to success. …