Dovetail Diary: Taking a Career Break

taking a career break, gap year, careers advice

Following the first instalment of our Dovetail Diary ‘Life Stories’ from Laura, it’s Francesca’s turn!
Did you ever take a gap year to go travelling? If it’s something you didn’t ever get around to it’s not too late. What’s to stop you taking a career break now for a year? If you have no major commitments or family ties what’s to stop you uprooting to follow your wanderlust dreams? There are companies out there that offer sabbaticals and if you’re lucky enough to work for one of these there’s nothing stopping you!

When you leave school it’s not always financially viable to go off travelling the world, especially with tuition fees waiting for you if Uni’s in your plans. So why not get started on that career ladder, build up a few years experience and some savings – so if and when the time’s right for a career break,  you’re ready to go.

Francesca did just this midway through her career, after getting some solid years of recruitment experience under her belt, having worked really hard and worked her way up, she suddenly found herself in a position where she wasn’t happy. She loved her job but something wasn’t right.

Here’s what happened!

Francesca Priest - Operations Director at Dovetail Recruitment Dorset,
Dovetail career break, quotation marks
Is everything ok? Are you ill? Has something happened?


These were just some of the responses I had when in 2015 I announced that my husband and I were going to take a year out and travel the world!

We were 35, both had responsible jobs, a mortgage to pay and a cat! But we needed to do this.  Having both gone into full-time employment after finishing school, me as Veterinary Nurse him joining the Navy we had worked solidly for 20 years and felt there had to be more out there.

So, we did it! We gave up our jobs, rehomed the cat, broke our parents’ hearts and off we went.

Starting in New Zealand (WOW what a country) we travelled in a tiny van that was only big enough for us to sleep in if we left the boot open!  After 3 months visiting the South and North Island, we went on to Samoa followed by Australia, Indonesia, Kuala Lumpur, Borneo, Thailand, Vietnam, Lao, Cambodia, Back to Thailand, Singapore and then Dubai.

We managed to squeeze in a quick 1 night stop back in the UK, and then we set off to America travelling on the Greyhound bus and train.

Francesca on her career break in Samoa

Francesca travelling in Samoa

The experience bought with it every emotion you can think of (imagine spending 24/7 with your partner in a very small van). Moments of joy included: waking up to the sunrise watching the Kangaroos box on the beach, washing elephants at a rescue centre, driving through the outback to reach Uluru, Island hopping in Thailand….and many many more.

It pushed me out of my comfort zone, not knowing where we would be sleeping each night, arriving in a country by overnight coach, not speaking the language and having to find your way around….being terrified on a boat trip in Borneo when a crocodile bigger than the boat comes out of the water.

But I absolutely loved it! I loved the freedom not knowing what was going to happen each day, not having lots of belongings (stuff) to worry about, not checking my phone every 5 minutes, meeting different people and having the time to stop and talk. We were living life to the full, living in the moment and appreciating the moment.

It really was the best experience of our lives, we came back different, it put everything back into perspective for us, it didn’t matter if we had the best clothes, car or gadgets – we just wanted to see more of the world. So now when we go on holiday we leave the complex we see what’s outside the all-inclusive walls.

Would we do it again?…………Who knows !

And the Cat…..we got her back!

Lust For Life

taking a career break, gap year, careers adviceWhat an amazing experience.
I feel so inspired! It makes me want to get up, pack my bags and go now :0)
Sometimes we make hurdles for ourselves unnecessarily when in reality, it’s not so difficult after all.

I had to ask Fran how travelling changed her or helped her in the workplace, this is what she thought!

How travelling can help with your career:

  • Taking a career break gives you the opportunity to discover what’s important to you. For example, it can confirm that you’re in the right career or not. For Fran, travelling confirmed her passion for working in recruitment with a renewed lust for life!
  • The whole travelling experience gives you a whole new lease of life and energy, ultimately this can give you a renewed passion for your career and what’s important to you.
  • For Fran, she gained a new sense of patience and understanding
  • I had a greater appreciation of the things I have – my eyes were opened to how other cultures and people live
  • I learnt that life is too short to waste on a job or company where you’re not happy and if you’re not happy you have the power to change it. You can take control.
  • It’s important to work somewhere you’re happy, with good people – it’s that ol cliché it’s so important to be happy in your job.


Related Dovetail Articles:
Laura’s Dovetail Diary: Optimism and hard work pays
Dovetail’s showreel
Dovetail recruiting in the face of adversity

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