How To Finance A Career Break

Career breaks are never easy. Yet, they can be the best thing you ever do. My time off from work (due to being very pregnant with twins) has given me quite a few opportunities, including the ability to gain some perspective and have time to think about the future. If you’re unhappy with your current work situation, a break might be the only way to figure out the best way to follow a new path. But how are you supposed to afford a break from working?

I understand that my current situation is far from a common one – receiving disability payments because the physical toll of the third trimester is preventing me from working. However, there are many people who continue working jobs that make them miserable, year after year, as they don’t see any other choice. If given the opportunity to honestly reassess their priorities and goals, I think most of these individuals would be able to make better decisions for their future. The difficulty lies in being able to see beyond the day-to-day stresses without really distancing yourself from work obligations.   

Following along with the status quo is easy. If you don’t have a clear goal for the future, you’re probably not going to put effort towards revising your resume, applying for new jobs, or making yourself available for interviews. You’re just not going to expend the necessary energy towards an uncertain endeavor. But leaving your job without a new one poses challenges of its own. The most pressing issue is, of course, money. How do you pay your way through a career break? Even if you don’t know how long the gap will last, there are ways to tide yourself over financially. 


You Need To Save Up Some Money

Though a career break may be one of the best decisions that you can make for your future, the time off is going to require a type of “investment.” By having some savings, you’ll give yourself the best chance of not causing irreparable financial damage when taking some time off from work.


Generally speaking, you should figure out how much money you need to cover your time off from work. Take into account bills, food, and necessities. It’s also worth putting away some money in an emergency fund each month. The smartest approach is to set aside money until you have enough. Then, have a discussion with your employer about taking a break, or hand in your resignation. You should accept that there is a definite possibility that your employer will not want you to come back after an extended leave of absence.  

Take On Some Side Hustles

During your time off, it helps to pick up some side hustles (it’s really a good idea when you’re working too). Even if you’re busy with reflection and research, continuing to bring in a small amount of money will help. You could spend a little bit of your time earning money on survey sites. These offer cash rewards for completed surveys. All you need to do is share your opinions. You can check out to get an idea of the best survey sites out there, but note that none of these sites are going to bring in that much money. My favorite site for earning a little money (without much effort) is Swagbucks.   


There are plenty of other options to consider. You could opt to sell unwanted things from your home. It doesn’t take up too much of your time. All you need to do is find somewhere to list the items. Also, you could start a blog, or sell some crafts you make at home. 

Related: Side Hustling 101: Why You Need To Start A Blog TODAY

Get A Temporary Job

This one many seem strange. If you’re going to get a temporary job anyway, you may as well stay where you are, right? Not necessarily. A temporary job could offer you the best of both worlds. It’s a way to keep earning money – especially important if you didn’t save up funds or are still trying to escape from debt – while giving yourself some space to consider your future. A temporary job can give you freedom if it’s only part-time hours and/or there are no long-term expectations.


You don’t have to worry too much about finding a temporary job that fits your skills. Your best bet may be a retail job or waiter/waitress work to tide you over, which you can find on sites like Of course, you can also use your time off to pursue some different types of interests that might help you formulate a new plan for your future, including volunteer work.


Accept Help

Nobody likes to accept help, especially when it comes to money. While it can be hard to accept financial help from other people, sometimes it’s necessary to get you where you need to go. It may be that your partner offers to support you during your time off. Your first reaction may be to refuse, because you don’t want to be indebted to anyone, especially not your partner.  

Help can be even harder to accept if it comes from someone else. It may be that friends or family members are willing to subsidize you for a set amount of time. You may just have to swallow your pride. If that money is the only way to achieve your dream, it’s worth taking and is much better than the other option of accumulating high-interest debt. Deciding on repayment terms upfront may make you feel better about taking money in the first place. The moment you get a job, you can start paying them back. 


Have A Plan

Taking a break from work could easily become a type of extended, unpaid vacation if you don’t have a plan for your time off. If you want your break to be productive, make sure to set some specific goals for yourself and a general schedule for your days. If you’re going to permanently break away from the demands of work with retirement someday, it’s very important to make the most of your time and money right now.


I really dislike my job, but understand that staying for another few years is necessary to achieve our goals. It took me a while to come up with our plan, because of the difficulty of performing honest self-assessment while juggling the obligations of family and full-time work. For quite some time, I considered whether switching jobs was the answer. It’s clear to me now that some time off and distance from work would have made the process much easier and quicker. Of course, we didn’t really have that option due to the amount of our debt. But if you do it the right way, a short break from work can be the perfect opportunity to make a better plan for your future.


  1. Taking that year off totally changed the direction we were heading! Absolutely life changing for us. We were lucky to be in a good financial situation, where our passive income covered our bills and we had saved a $50k cushion. But we weren’t ready to “retire” for a few reasons. But having that time was like a left turn. We finally could look around and see that there are other options out there. I’m glad you are enjoying this time off. Sometimes it’s SO needed.
    Ms. Montana recently posted…Lessons from My First Year BloggingMy Profile

    1. Hi Ms. Montana! Your family is the perfect example of how much perspective and inspiration can be gained by taking a break from work. Passive income is a great way to open up a lot of different options – definitely something that we’re working on. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. The great thing about temp jobs is that employers don’t usually expect much. If you’re moderately conscientious (on time, courteous, neatly dressed, not on the phone all day) they’d probably be thrilled with you. Once they like you they’re pretty flexible with your schedule because they want you to stay. And usually you’re not getting benefits and they understand you might have appointments (like looking for a permanent job, even if you’re not) and they don’t pay you for time off.

    Great tips Harmony!
    Mrs. Groovy recently posted…$425 for Dirty Jeans?! Are You Sh*tting Me?My Profile

    1. All very true points about temp jobs, Mrs. Groovy. When I get really stressed out about projects at work that follow me home on nights and weekends, I often daydream about going back to waitressing. Yes, it can be stressful at times and the pay isn’t great, but once you clocked out, you were D-O-N-E.

  3. Absolutely love your tips! But I think the best way to finance a career break is to save for it! That way, you’ll be able to enjoy your career break without worries at all! Of course, careful planning is important too.

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