It might feel like an odd time to be taking a career break aka unpaid special leave.
The world is unpredictable, economically uncertain. Yet I have been thinking about taking some time out for months, while wrestling with the belief that I’m not the sort of person who does things like this. I’ve become increasingly drawn to coaching and mentoring, finding satisfaction in giving my full attention to one person and supporting them to the best of my ability. So when I arranged with work to study for a professional coaching qualification, something I deeply wanted to do, this crystallised into a desire to invest seriously in my skills and step back from the hectic work schedule.
The last few years have been pretty full-on. I graduated from Crossing Thresholds in 2015, and completed a major policy project, got married and achieved promotion to SCS in 2017. Then followed three years of intense work and investment to build a new strategy function in my department, growing the division from three to 30 folk, from one team to three. Along the way, I took some time off for burn out, went part-time and re-thought how to keep myself healthy and productive by changing some habits.
So what do I want to get from this time away from work?
Like a good coach, I’m setting myself some goals – just two. First and foremost, I want to pass my Level 7 qualification, building my experience and learning more about my own strengths and blind spots as a coach along the way. And second, I want to achieve balance in my life during the career break and will be tracking my weekly habits across work, exercise, creativity and fun. I’ll let you know how I’m getting on.