In the past, employees were expected to leave school, go to college, find a job and slowly work their way up a set career ladder until they could comfortably retire in their 60s or 70s. It all sounds a little bit…well, boring, right?
Thankfully, today’s workforce is a little bit more flexible. Now more than ever employees are making the rules themselves. They’re changing career directions, upskilling in their free time and freelancing at the weekends. Today’s workers are making their careers work for them and not the other way around.
Unhappy with just 20 days of annual leave a new trend has been emerging amongst travel-hungry employees, the mini-retirement.
The term originates from Timothy Ferris’ The 4-Hour Workweek, in which he argues the case for taking a series of meaningful respites from our structured 9-to-5 careers rather than an end-of-the-line grand exit.
A mini-retirement is not a holiday, a sabbatical or even a series of sick days. It is a thought-out conscious decision to take a step back and gain some perspective. If you do it correctly a mini-retirement can be an eye-opening and life-changing experience.
Here are just some tips on how to make it worthwhile.
Get your finances in order
If you’re contemplating a mini-retirement the first thing you will need to do is look at your finances. Depending on where you are going you will need to have set aside a sizeable chunk of money to sustain you during the months that you are not working.
Figure out your average monthly expenditure and multiply it by the number of months that you will be away, then add 20%. That might seem like a lot but it will act as a buffer in case you come up against any unexpected costs (which you undoubtedly will).
Don’t second guess yourself
Once you have decided that you are going to take a mini-retirement commit to it whole-heartedly. People will likely tell you that you are foolish for leaving your job or that you are squandering away your savings but if you feel like a mini-retirement will improve your career in the long term and your happiness in the short term then do it.
Make it meaningful
Sure, spending a few days drinking margaritas in a hammock might seem appealing now but what if you had to do it for four weeks in a row? It would probably become just a little bit tedious. If you want to make your mini-retirement worthwhile then you need to make sure that you set some goals. Volunteer at a charitable organisation or work on a new project in your free time. It will be much easier to reenter the workplace if a potential employer can see some growth.
Use the time to reflect
The purpose of a mini-retirement is to propel yourself forward in some way. Remember, it’s not just a vacation or time away from work. Make a conscious effort to try and figure out what you want to do post-mini-retirement. Perhaps you want to change careers entirely, or maybe you will happily return to your old sector with a renewed enthusiasm. Use the time to reflect and evaluate.