Career break?

中国日报网 2016-04-29 13:20



Career break?

Reader question:

When Taylor Swift says she “may take a career break”, what does it mean? Will she stop singing?

My comments:

In other words, Taylor Swift, the pop star, will take some time off of work as a singer and entertainer.

Yes, for some time, she will stop singing if she takes such a break. As a matter of fact, she has to stop singing and giving concerts altogether.

Otherwise, you cannot consider it a “break”.

A break, you see, is a temporary stop or halt to an activity. It is a discontinuity. At the work place, for example, some employers offer a coffee break, a little break from work for staff to drink a cup of coffee and catch a breather.

Most work places offer a lunch break at noon, of about an hour or two (or even three if you happen to work for some generous government bureaucracy or other in some places).

In the theater, we have a break of about a quarter of an hour at what is called an intermission, which breaks the program into two halves and which allows audiences to, for example, yawn, stretch their arms and legs and go to the loo.

Or when we watch a show on TV, they have commercial breaks to allow advertisers to air their advertisements – called commercials.

All of these breaks share one thing in common. They bring the main activity to a complete halt.

Oh, another thing is that after the break, the said activity, be it work at the work place or a soap opera on TV, resumes and carries on as before.

In our example, Swift will resume her singing career after the hiatus or time off.

The singer does not give a reason for wanting to have the break and so we don’t know whether she needs the time off just to rest or raise a family or go to college or whatever.

Usually, though, people take career breaks for those types of reasons. By taking some time off, they usually hope to bounce back with renewed energy and aptitude in order to catapult their career onto greater heights.

At least that’s the idea. Very likely in our example, that is the case with Swift. Otherwise, she will just say that she wants to retire and call it a career, period. She certainly has made enough money to allow her to do that.

But, in all likelihood, Swift may just want to rest and recuperate for a little while. She, we may speculate, intends to come back stronger and give fans more off-the-chart songs, albums and live concerts.

Whatever, here are media examples of people taking career breaks:

1. There are many ways you can help yourself get back into work quickly after break in your career. Tim Cooper, business journalist, explains how to make the most of your experience.

Even the best careers can have their ups and downs, and one of the trickiest to handle is a break from work. If you do experience a spell out of the job market, there is plenty you can do to get back on track quickly.

Since the downturn, one of the biggest threats to finance professionals’ careers has been redundancy. But recruitment experts say that, because of this economic background, losing your job no longer carries the stigma it once did.

Peter Istead, managing director Michael Page Finance, London and South East, says: ‘People who have taken redundancy or been made redundant shouldn’t worry about it. Be honest on your CV – a lot of people understand it.

‘Previously there was an element of stigma – do you make your best people redundant? But that is often completely out of your control these days and candidates shouldn’t be negative in their outlook. That comes out in the CV but more importantly at interview.’


Push for support

Istead says that if you are made redundant, you should get some support from your employer and you should ‘push for that.’

‘Much of the support that employers offer through out-placements is good in terms of preparing you, but there is nothing like getting out there and finding a job,’ he says. ‘There are more routes than you may used to have – job boards, working your networks … If you believe you are going back into the right sort of organisation where you can make a difference, then taking a short-term job is very commonplace. Don’t feel you are one of a few people doing this.’

Some people start as in betweeners then find they like the interim world. ‘The reason many people end up in interim work is that they get a taste for it,’ says Istead. ‘They realise they have a useful skill set and then find they enjoy the projects. As you build a reputation and experience, you are more likely to be employed. The hardest part is hanging in there in the early days.’

Tony Stevens, regional manager, South Yorkshire for Hays Senior Finance, says the main advice for someone returning from a career break is to ‘pursue every opportunity that comes to your door because the market is competitive and sometimes people coming back, especially after one or two years, misunderstand market conditions.’ He advises networking and speaking to consultancies to understand market conditions in their location.

Stevens also recommends looking at the interim market. ‘People often view temporary work as a stop-gap but it is the perfect opportunity to get your foot back in the door, to get some commercial experience back on the CV and it is always easier to find a role when you are in a role.

‘Many companies are seeking to employ people on an interim basis for flexible resource and also because of economic uncertainty. It can lead to permanent opportunities; not necessarily in that role, but in other areas of the business.’

Be proud of your break

Another big reason for taking a career break is childcare. ‘People accept that it happens, so you simply put that down [on your CV],’ says Istead. ‘Illness is more difficult because it is a private subject and one that you probably wouldn’t want to put on a non-confidential document, so people normally present that as ‘career break’.

‘If you come to a consultancy, we deal with that with the client for you – get it across in a positive way. Some people fear that if they tell the employer, they’d be concerned about it. But that is not the way to be thinking.’

Whatever the reason for your career break, be as honest as you can, says Stevens. ‘In today’s culture, people take sabbaticals, maternity and paternity leave, and they go travelling. All of those experiences give you life skills that you can offer that employer to show maturity. Be proud of the break you have had and justify why you had it. Don’t try and skirt round it, make it a feature.

‘Pay massive attention to the details. For example, if you have worked overseas that is a plus point to employers – they could be looking to break into those markets or already have operations there and that could be one of your unique selling points.’

- How to deal with a career break, Insight, February 2013.

2. Jennifer Aniston has revealed that she will be taking a career break in 2015 to finally wed her fiance Justin Theroux.

The 45-year-old actress said she will take the break after she completes her films – ‘Cake’, ‘Miss You Already’ and ‘Horrible Bosses 2’- all of which are currently being filmed, the Mirror reported.

Aniston has been renovating her Bel Air mansion since 2012.

She told People magazine that a career break was long overdue, asserting that 2015 will be nesting, 100 per cent, and that she's got to take a break.

The couple has been together for three years after first hooking up on the set of ‘Wanderlust.’

- Jennifer Aniston ‘to take a career break in 2015 to wed fiance Justin Theroux’, ANI, March 29, 2014.

3. As the Duchess of Cambridge is due to give birth any day now, our thoughts turn to families juggling young children with a career.

Whether you’re a mother or father, there’s a lot to think about career-wise when it comes to starting a family. Is it sensible to take time away from the office if you’re looking to get promoted? And when’s a good time to take a career break? Even Kate hasn’t taken much time out from her royal duties, making her last public engagement at the end of March.

You may be thinking of starting a family, or want to return to work, but don’t know where to start. So, what tips can help you to juggle both? One option is to request flexible working to fit in around childcare. “Research shows flexible workers are more productive and happy. It also reduces costs, helping to decrease staff turnover and reduce absence levels,” says workplace expert, Tanya Korobka.

It’s also important to organise childcare you’re happy with so you feel at ease when you’re working. “Parents often feel a sense of guilt at leaving their children at home,” says Lisa Pierson Weinberger, a lawyer and founder of Mom, Esq. “Rather than dwell on how you’re not with your child, think about how your role in the company is benefiting the family. Perhaps you can afford certain classes or educational opportunities for your children or you’re able to put away savings for them.”

Whether you’re pregnant, intending to start a family, or want advice on balancing life as a working parent – join us on Wednesday 29 April from 1–3pm BST for a live chat with the experts.

- How to juggle your career with starting a family – live chat,, April 26, 2015.


About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at:, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.

(作者:张欣 编辑:丹妮)



















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