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Here’s how to get back to work life after a career break

Published Mar 16, 2022


The pandemic revealed, among many, a need for change. It was a time to pause, rethink and rediscover your career and role within an industry. Some even chose to study for a new career.

While it isn’t uncommon for people to switch careers or take a break or sabbatical from their roles in their given industry, it has now become easier to do with many putting family and mental health on top of their priority lists

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Devan Moonsamy, CEO of ICHAF Training Institute, says work pressure, needing to examine a business partnership or entrepreneurship for other options, as well as a spiritual journey and even medical or parental leave, could be reasons for a career sabbatical.

“Taking a break from one’s career can play an integral role in self-growth. Previously, listing a career sabbatical on your resume might not have been applauded, but given the tough few years we have experienced due to Covid-19, a career sabbatical is understandable.

“Whether the career break was embraced spontaneously or due to research, getting back into the groove of things after some time might come with its challenges. Getting back to work with the new working order as well as other potentially new technologies might be the reason for us to feel out of place.”

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During the pandemic, not just in South Africa but all over the world, employees were resigning from their positions to either start a new business or just take some time off to rediscover their purpose and careers. Retrenchment was also high on the rise.

If you’re thinking of ending your break and going back to your career, it is vital to carefully plan your comeback to the corporate world. Devan Moonsamy shares his four tips.

1. Give yourself a chance to come up with a vision. It is important to set clear and concise goals for your return. Know exactly what you want and how you will go about achieving it. If you are returning to an existing job, you might find the team have learnt to work without you and this might make you feel out of place. However, re-join the workforce with a clear vision of self-awareness and use your strengths and capabilities to transform the workplace. Reconnect with the elements that made what you do rewarding and fruitful. Try not to let the new team or group of people intimidate you.

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2. If you are starting afresh then don’t hesitate to explain the gap in your resume. Be vocal about what happened in your life in an interview. Employers admire honesty and truthfulness. Whether you spent the time recovering from a messy divorce to accepting the call to spirituality, explaining the gap can be significant in helping you join a new work space.

3. Reflect on the past. Take some time out and look at your past work and analyse what you hated about work life then and avoid making the same mistakes. Besides looking at what you disliked also look at what you liked. This way, you are able to allow for flexibility and open mindedness.

4. Preparation is key. Don’t prepare today to re-join the work world tomorrow. Give yourself time to conduct research and evaluate what needs to be done to get back into the work world. Whether it’s updating the resume or even just updating LinkedIn, it requires preparation. Research the companies you are applying to and prepare for the job you want to have there. Research the requirements and work at improving your skill sets to land that job.

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We wish you all the best!


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