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How I have changed since my career break – and how you could too

Group of girls, Vietnam


When I took my career break, a few years ago, someone asked me before I left: “Do you think you will have changed when you come back?”


I said no, I didn't think so, but that wasn't entirely true.


I'm still the same person – the one who always forgets to pack something, unfortunately – but I have changed in a few ways since I travelled the world.


You might too.


I'm more confident


This is one of the ways in which you'll almost certainly change after your career break – because pretty much everyone develops their confidence when they go away!


Whether it's travelling, volunteering, learning something new, teaching or doing seasonal work, taking the plunge into a whole new experience will make you feel more confident than you ever thought possible!


For me, it was the confidence to try something new – in front of other people! For example, I'm not very good at the guitar, but I joined in a sing-song in Thailand, strumming away and no-one wrenched the guitar off me! It made me realize that it doesn't matter if you don't always do something brilliantly, just getting up and having a go is good enough.


Lake Queenstown


I saw this in other people too – a friend I made was afraid of heights but was determined to do a bungee jump. I met him after he'd done it and he was a pretty self-assured guy!


I'm better at making connections with people


Before my career break, I'd never been to the developing world, and I found some of the people I met quite different from what I was used to.


Some of this was not so pleasant – pushy hawkers, people staring – but some of it was a nice surprise. People would be kind for no reason other than to be kind, and I lost count of the number of people who helped me out.


Different attitudes were interesting too – being asked to dance at a party in Laos which I always thought was terribly traditional (but very flattering too), or being with a group of girls who didn't drink, but didn't judge me for having a beer.


I never used to pay that much attention to people I had trouble understanding or if I didn't know where they were coming from, but I've learnt that listening to them and accepting that they have a different background has opened the door to some great new friendships.


Dive Resort


I found out I was good at something unexpected


I don't know about you, but I've always been rubbish at sports. At school I was always the fat girl who's always last to be picked for the team – you know the one.


On my career break though, I had the opportunity to do a diving course so I thought I'd give it a go, as it didn't look that difficult and I could already swim.


What surprised me though, was the instructor told me I was good at it. I didn't see what there is to be good at, bimbling about under the water staring at fish, but I figured he knew what he was talking about.


That's one thing about trying something new that is brilliant, especially for those who have never really excelled at anything before. You can try something new on a career break without spending a lot of money, buying a load of equipment or devoting a huge amount of time to it (my diving course was only 4 days). Then, if you turn out to be good, you can carry on!


I'm better at the pub quiz


Yep, all that travelling really is an education!



This post was written by Rachel Morgan-Trimmer, founder of, the UK's biggest independent career break website.


Images (3)
  • Dive Resort
  • Group of girls, Vietnam
  • Lake Queenstown

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I think you capsured why the extended trip is so important !In my case when I first took one ,I gained an enormous amount of confidence in meeting people too. The world seemed friendy and interested in what I had to say. It's  very humbling when you meet a group of people that speak 5 languages fluently, yet still have the conversation in English,so you can understand. I know that caused me  at different workplaces to include people who might not know the language and culture yet.

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