On Why I Took A Career Break

Saturday, 25 February 2017


The deep and substantial conversation I had with a good friend a few days ago made me reflect on the biggest decision that I have ever made in my life- to temporarily drop everything that I had in London and move down under with almost nothing but a man who was brave enough to take his chance on me. 

Don't get me wrong, London has opened so many doors for me but at the same time, I was also challenged to the core. I was pushed beyond my boundaries.  It came to a point where I was no longer sure of the person I have become. I can't deny the fact that despite all the challenges, I remained strong and positive. But I was also very inconsistent. In my weakest moments, I broke down in silence. I felt helpless. I was very insecure. London suddenly became too small for me. I was suffocated and was slowly being defeated by my desperate attempt to change myself because I was apparently too kind, and being kind was obviously not a good thing for some people. I was called a pushover and a doormat, in fact. I was falsely accused of not having the power to defend myself.  My kindness suddenly became questionable. Apparently, I was faking it.  I felt so lost, I didn't know who I was anymore. I was doing things that I didn't necessarily enjoy because I wanted to change the person I was. I wanted to be more confident. I wanted to have that power over people. I wanted to be that b*tch that men would likely to fall in love with. I wanted to be a different person when I was barely over the passing of Keith. All in a span of two years. Heartbreak after heartbreak after heartbreak. I was losing the people I loved. I was falling out with friends. 

Work, although it wasn't too bad became less satisfying. After two years, I figured out that there was something missing in my professional life. I wasn't the same confident Nurse I was before I moved to London. I only have myself to blame because I let people intimidate me. My confidence was crushed to the ground by some people who disregarded my knowledge,  skills and experiences. Since then, I wasn't sure if I still wanted to be a Nurse anymore. My life was suddenly filled with so much uncertainties. Actually, I no longer knew where my life was heading. I was almost 40- separated, sharing a flat with younger people and was not as financially stable as I was hoping to be. Finally, I was on the verge of giving up. For the first time in my life, I wanted to run away.

And then I found love. But even so, things didn't come easy. While I was trying to make a life with him, someone out there was trying to break the still shaky foundation that we have built. Clearly,  I was fighting a new battle. I knew what we had was worth fighting for, but I also knew that I could only fight so much. There were times when I felt so inadequate. I was beginning to realise that no matter how hard I try, I would never be enough to anyone. The thought of it was very painful because I knew I was trying my very best, but nothing seemed to be working out (in all aspects of my life that is). I came to a point where I desperately wanted to give up. But my love for myself prevailed. That's when I realised that perhaps all I needed was a break. A break to reassess my life, find what was missing, focus on what was important and start over again. But the question was- how? 

Coincidentally,  J was considering a job offer in New Zealand. Without  a second thought, I told him to accept the offer and that I would go with him. I saw this as an opportunity to finally be able to  start a new life with him away from all the poisonous  distractions, and also for me to reset my life. Although it took him a while to make the final decision, he eventually signed the contract.

I knew I wasn't completely ready to give up my job although I was becoming increasingly unsettled as days went by. In one of my random conversations with a colleague, she mentioned that she was taking a career break because she wanted to work in New Zealand for a bit. That's where I got the idea from. So, as soon as J has finalised his work requirements, I asked for a career break. 

It wasn't a  difficult process. I arranged a meeting with my boss and expressed my intentions of taking a career break. Without too much interrogation, he granted my request. Everything went smoothly thereafter.

My one-year career break was not at all bed of roses. There were some dramas challenges along the way, but nevertheless it is one of the best things that I have ever done in my life. 

I can't say if I am a better professional at this point, but I am certain that I am a better person.


I came back to London reluctantly and with so much anxiety because I knew that some people will try their best to destroy my inner peace. My fear became a reality as soon as I went back to the routine I left a year ago. It's amazing how some people can treat you so bad sometimes. They don't even have to necessarily  say or do something nasty directly to you. All they have to do is make you feel like you don't exist. Yes, I go through this majority of the time. I'm not sure how long will I have to endure this but right now, I am fighting. Luckily, I have had such a good life in the last year and I still do now, so I draw strength from that. I draw strength from the fact that I have so much more to be thankful for and that I am in a much better place than some people out there.

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