How long will you stay after your gap year?

This is in the top three questions asked by colleagues after:

  1. When is your year off?
  2. What are you doing?

Yesterday I had a conversation with a colleague on the same level as me. She asked questions numbers 1 through to 3, with the large part of the discussion at number 3.

We are roughly the same age. I asked her how long she’s “staying”. She said, “If next year’s like this one, two years. If it isn’t then around 5.”

Ah, there’s the rub. I need this year off. It’s not like my post uni gap year. That was adventure and finding independence. This gap year is about restoring.

Restoring my mind.

Restoring my spirit.

Restoring my purpose.

To not always be thinking about work: problems and solutions. To not spend 8 to 9 hours at work, with minimal break times or working while eating, and come home to answer emails and think about more work issues. To not be too exhausted to do much else. To look forward to the weekend for some rest.

Last night I had a nightmare. About a lovely staff member who was so affected by work that after 15 years of service, she quit. Burnt out, exhausted and mentally ill. A loved and lovely teacher. An amazing teacher who got great results. A beautiful person. I tear up thinking about her.

So how long do I have after I come back?

It depends on a lot of things. Cost of renovations that will come the year after our year off. How much the job shits me. My health.

Roughly, I think it will be 5 to 7 years.


3 thoughts on “How long will you stay after your gap year?

  1. I find this a funny question for your friends and associates to ask. If you were only going to return for a year or so, you would just retire now! Presumably you are going to return for a period of some years. I don’t talk about potential retirements with most colleagues (unless they initiate it) because everyone’s retirement situations are so different and so dependent on personal savings rates and investments, as well as years of service. I find the assumption that someone “should” return soon (or should want to) can easily offend!


    • You are so considerate and polite. I don’t think we, as Australians in general are. I’m definitely not. Though in my colleagues defence, it is relatively common for public servants to save their long service year and use it in the year before retirement. And some people do it with their Deferred Salary Scheme. But you’re right, questions of retirement can easily offend – like Mr S’s boss asking him if the year off would be it for him – was he implying Mr S should go? The same question from a boss has a totally different meaning.


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