November is the one-year anniversary of GlobalJuliana.com. Reaching this milestone genuinely delights me, and I express my gratitude to readers like you for your continuous encouragement. My blog embodies three passions – travel, writing, and spirituality – and is a testament to the transformative 15 months of my mid-life career break. As I created this blog to channel my evolving self-expression, being featured in “Taking a Career Break for Dummies” feels like the manifestation of a deliberate reconnection with my soul’s desire to be self-expressed and leave a positive legacy for humankind.
Juliana poured her time and energy into creating a blog to reflect on and share her career break experience. She offered advice, travel tips, and personal reflections to inspire other midlife women on a similar journey.
Excerpt from “Sparking Your Creativity” in Taking a Career Break for Dummies
Authored by my remarkable career break coach, Katrina McGhee, the book is a treasure trove of actionable advice, brimming with insights drawn from Katrina’s own career break experiences and coaching sessions mentoring dozens of clients to plan and live a purposeful sabbatical. The book’s timely arrival in my mailbox serves as a poignant reminder that by creating space to follow our passions, we not only fuel our personal growth but also contribute to the broader societal expansion.
Why you should read “Taking a Career Break for Dummies”
Dive into this book if the idea of taking a sabbatical intrigues you but your mind grapples with objections:
- I’m being irresponsible
- I’ll ruin my career
- I can’t afford a break
- I should wait for a better time
- I’m not the “career break type”
- I should wait until retirement
Katrina addresses every single one of these objections and many more in great detail. There are 344 pages of life-altering insights and real-life stories from her clients, including but not limited to:
- Holding your purpose clearly to define success
- Collecting proof that a break is possible
- Determining the cost of your break and creating a budget
- Avoiding a financial meltdown
- Building confidence
- Giving notice and leaving your job on great terms
- Handling the naysayers
- Managing the logistics
- Planning for extended travel
- Transitioning out of your break
- Thriving beyond the break
If you feel that you need a reset from work, consider this blog post to be a spiritual breadcrumb (in addition to that voice, feeling, or thought telling you that there’s another – bigger, better, different, more exciting – path for you). It’s your higher self speaking, and future you will thank you forever.
Full circle: from fearing change to being featured in the “For Dummies” book series
The fear and self-doubt provoked by the idea of leaving my high-paying corporate job overwhelmed me to the extent that, during my initial session with Katrina, I expressed uncertainty about genuinely wanting to quit. “Perhaps I just need a good two-week vacation by myself somewhere,” I said. The lies we tell ourselves! The best gift I gave myself was to ditch my lack of confidence for the adventure of a lifetime.
My career break lasted 15 months, four of which were solo adventures in Europe and Belize. The 10 months at home were just as meaningful as my time abroad. No experience was small. Every victory over past behaviors, or any apparent defeat, was a lesson in trusting my instincts, speaking my truth, and reframing my limiting beliefs.
Taking a break peeled off my need to please everyone and to be perfect. I let go of thoughts and people who no longer aligned with my values, being grateful for the growth they brought to my life. Setting boundaries has become much easier these days, though it’s an evolving practice. The work still isn’t over, but today I show my vulnerabilities, needs, and desires more openly and with greater compassion for my eventual slips. My idea of success went from how I thought others perceived me to how I feel about myself.
My break also helped me slow down from busyness and the nagging need to feel productive. Nowadays, doing nothing feels quite blissful. Katrina beautifully illustrates how I learned to rest:
Juliana had an amazing name for her rest-related theme: dolce far niente (the Italian phrase for the sweetness of doing nothing). With such a beautiful name, I was excited to see how she embraced this theme. Spoiler: It was similar to my other clients – with confusion and discomfort. Of her four themes, this was the most challenging one for her to fully embrace. With a mix of delight and guilt or peace and angst, she attempted to relax and enjoy the freedom to be idle. But it took a lot of practice and a willingness to be uncomfortable. Several months into her break, she finally started to enjoy her idle time and discovered the magic of allowing her days to unfold before her.
Chapter 10, “Getting the Most Out of Your Break”
I intentionally made a thick and delicious metaphysical soup of my learnings across my other themes – Express/Create, Spirituality, and Travel/Explore – to design a more empowered and aligned life. The positive effects continue to ripple throughout my career, marriage, friendships, finances, and family dynamics.
Changing the core
Curiously, I concluded my career break returning to a life that on the outside looks quite similar to my pre-break world. I chose to re-engage in a marketing communications career in big corporate, I’m still married to the same man, and active in many of the same hobbies, like playing tennis and writing. And yet, everything changed because I changed. In these various realms – career, family, self, leisure – I bring a version of me that chooses how I show up as opposed to feeling like I have very little control over my choices. I became more self-aware of victim mentality (the mindset of giving up responsibility for my role in creating my circumstances), turned off the automatic pilot, and tuned into my heart.
At work, I feel the bliss of flow, a novel concept just a few years ago. I’m content earning good money in a job that utilizes my talents and passions, and enables me to work with smart and creative colleagues in a safe, collaborative, and dynamic environment.
At the beginning of her break, Juliana envisioned a travel-based break that would most likely culminate in a career pivot. She was open to new possibilities and excited for a change. During the last few months of her break, she slowly began her re-entry period. She explored creative pursuits like blogging and writing and even supported a start-up company with her marketing talents. It took time, but as she moved through her re-entry period, she realized that her previous belief that success would mean starting a new noncorporate career was no longer true. After reflecting on her new goals, nonnegotiables, and career desires, she returned to the corporate world and accepted a position that married her past experience with her new post-break goals and desires.
Chapter 13, “Transitioning out for Your Break”
One Year Anniversary of GlobalJuliana.com
To be featured in “Taking a Career Break for Dummies” at the one-year anniversary of this blog feels quite celebratory. Curiously, writing a book was one of the original intentions of my break. I shifted gears to focus on other things, but my intention materialized in the shape of stories for Katrina’s debut book. I’m thrilled to see my experiences in those pages and humbled to be a part of a legacy that will positively guide and impact many lives. But first and foremost, I’m thrilled for Katrina and her journey of overcoming her own limitations to pour her vast knowledge and wisdom into her book. I wish her tremendous success!
Happy anniversary to GlobalJuliana.com and my sincere gratitude to you, my dear reader!
Update to this post
When Katrina told me she was having a book launch party in Atlanta, I felt a “hell yes” in my whole body. I immediately purchased my airfare and booked a hotel. This picture was taken a week after I originally published this blog post. It was a beautiful evening celebrating her accomplishment and the perfect closure for an extraordinary life chapter.