By Travis UlmerJanuary 2, 2020Blog, Career Coaching, Career Counseling, Career Development, Career Planning, Career Transition, Change, Job Satisfaction, Management


As a Career Coach, I am often asked about “resume gaps” – lengths of time (often months, sometimes years) in between jobs.

You are watching: She took a two-year break in her career. now she’s ceo.

People usually presume a resume gap is a career killer. They think it’s a big red flag to potential employers, suggesting that A) the person couldn’t get a job, or B) they aren’t committed to their profession and just “took time off” to try something fun, or be a parent/guardian/care provider.

Here’s the problem with that presumption – it’s short-sighted.

What if, long-term, the best thing to do for your professional life is to take a season of time for your personal life? Consider what an extended period away from your career could do for your emotional, mental and physical health, ultimately BETTER preparing you for your next career venture.

But don’t just take my word for it.

The Wall Street Journal just ran this article written by Deanna Mulligan, the CEO of Guardian Life Insurance. When she was just 41, she stepped back from the prime of her career. But as she writes, this perceived “bad career move” was anything but, and she documents exactly why.

Here is a very short excerpt about what she did during those two years that I believe will hook you on reading the entire piece:

I went around and talked to a few people who had taken breaks before. Interestingly, nobody who had done it said, “Oh, don’t do it. Oh, that’s a bad idea.” Everybody who had done it said, “It was one of the best things I’ve ever done.” And no one to whom I spoke thought that it had a negative impact on their career.

I intended it for it to be six months. But one of my friends said, “You think you’re going to take six months off, but that’s not enough. You have to take at least two years.” And I remember at the time thinking to myself, “Two years?” I could never take two years off.

In retrospect, two years was the right amount of time. The first year I spent decompressing and spending time on activities I had neglected, like exercise. Of course, spending a lot of time with my family, my friends. And, I have to say, time with myself. Time to really be alone and think about what I’d learned and what that meant for my future.

The second year, I was able to focus on what I might like to do next. I cast my net pretty wide. I’m an equestrian; I looked at something in the equestrian field. I spoke to one of the major art houses about working in that field because I have a passion for art.

My original career was in insurance, and ultimately, I decided that I really loved it. I find it to be very meaningful—it affects people’s lives in a major way. We’re here for people at their worst moments. We provide help when someone dies, when someone is disabled, when someone is sick.

See more: Why Do Complementary Angles Have The Same Range, Complimentary Angles

Read the entire article here, and consider how a break could impact your professional and personal life.