jen spencer coaches

The Break

Sorry to break this to you, but I am confident in forecasting that at some point, whether you are 25 or 60, you will have a break in your career.

Some lulls are a conscious choice, and others are unexpected surprises, but when we prepare for them, we can better manage the transition and development the break will bring.

> Selling a company you started
> Having a baby
> Going back to school
> Traveling

The less conscious types of breaks usually involve a grieving period that causes us to reframe our reality and make sense of the direction we want
to go.

> Getting laid off or fired
> Full-time Caretaking for parent, child, or friend
> Getting sick
> Getting bought out of your partnership
> Having a baby

Regardless of the pro-active or reactive nature of your break, if you leverage them, they have less of a chance of becoming a black hole on your resume, and instead become an opportunity to create and shape your story.

Here are some insightful, inspiring stories to share:

The Chosen Break

Jeff Jung left his work as a marketing director and management consultant in the health care world to travel in 2007. And, he’s been traveling ever since. He launched his new company, Career Break Secrets last week, and is currently splitting his time between Columbia and Austin.

The creative community knows Stefan Sagmeister. Aside from his incredible design work, he has become famed for his self-imposed one-year sabbatical. Typically, we spend our first 25 years learning, the following 40 years working, and ideally, we close out life with 15+ years of retirement.

Stefan re-imagined this scenario and decided to take five of his retirement age years and intersperse them throughout his 40-year working phase.

The benefits are not only creating for creating sake (versus for clients
and money), but he found that the work that comes out of his sabbatical experiences gets absorbed back into his company, their work, and society
at large.

The Inevitable Break

As an actor, Donal Logue has had pretty admirable success. Aside from
his pupu platter of credits in TV and film, he is currently the lead in
Terriers on FX.

He was recently Tavis Smiley’s guest on PBS, and he spoke about the lulls
he had in his career – times when he didn’t or couldn’t get work.

Donal spent those breaks and downtime playing in the field he loved. He
and colleagues/friends would make films together. Aside from having fun with his buddies, he was engaged with his craft, and staying connected to what he was inspired by. As a result, he created some great outlets that helped him forward in his career.

The Hybrid Break

And, last but not least, you also see employers giving hybrid breaks as
part of actual jobs. Google is one of the most well-known. Their engineers are given 20% of their time to work on projects that aren’t in their job description.

As a result, innovation accelerates, and the engineers often end up improving Google’s products and services through tinkering versus a mandated job description.

Whether you are in a break now or imagining one in your future,
remember, the sky is the limit with what your break can create for you
– a gift, call to action, course correction, and/or time for introspection.

You can choose the game you want to win. I’m here to help.

Your Wing Woman,


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