17 May 2022, by Patrina Tan

End of Break

Started my break on 14th February 2022. I still remember the day when I did my exit from the previous company. I walked out of the office with a burden off my shoulder. Haven’t felt that way for a long time. No commitment, no one to report to, no more meeting of deadlines. It was liberating. 

It has been 2.5 months and I am back in the force. I have not found something new to do. I am still in product management and really hope that I will fit in in the new company. Contemplated taking an extended break but I was afraid I would be lazy. So when this opportunity came, I took it. It is no doubt nerve-wracking to go into another job after what I have experienced in the past 1 year. But I believe things will be different this time. The 2.5 months break gave me a new breath of life and I am hoping that I can see “work” differently this time.

During my break, it first started with a lot of lazing on the couch. John was working from home and I honestly have nowhere to go since most of my friends were at work too. So I binged watch some k-drama and caught up with sleep. But after a week, I got bored. I started planning solo dates. I am a shopaholic. It was hard to be out without spending money. But I think I controlled myself well. Instead of browsing through stores, I took a longer tea break in the cafe reading my book. Oh! I would recommend choosing a book to complete during your break. I read “Manifest” by Roxie Nafousi and I do feel slightly enlightened at the end of it. 🙂

I also took the time to study for my Real Estate paper. I took the course last year and I was a bit rusty. Managed to catch up well but the exam was quite tough honestly. So that took up most of my free time. I did plan to travel back then, but most countries still require a negative PCR result and I was unfortunately still PCR positive after contracting Covid in January. It was said that it will take 90 days to reflect a negative status. So that was out of the window. 

Amidst studying, I forced myself to step out of the house and one memorable date I had with myself sitting along Kallang Park on my foldable Decathlon chair with a book and drink. The weather was great and the view was calming. Would 100% recommend you to try it if you’re feeling stressed. I tried to exercise more but that didn’t go well. Hahahaha! Part of me was pressured by John to do something meaningful during my break. But I figured that after 10 years of working, I’m not going to give myself deadlines again. I wanted to just let things be. I was not entirely detached from work either as I run an e-commerce with my best friend, Pris. She designs all the stuff and I handle the operations.

This is one of our products

Looking back, I did not regret a single thing. I’m glad I walked out of my previous job without a plan, I’m glad I spent the past 2 months doing nothing. To me, doing nothing is an art. Hahahahaha! I managed to clear my mind and reduced the anxiety I got from work. At the start it was hard. I would still think of how I felt and tear up at times. Also, the fear of not being able to go back on track scares me. There was also a bit of guilt for taking a break at such a young age. Guilty for making my husband work harder to provide for us both. But he is amazing. The support that I got from him is my strongest pillar of strength.

Here are some takeaways from my break.

  1. Acknowledge that it is perfectly fine to take a break. Your career should not be a marathon but a passage of life. Things do happen and it is best to react however it will make you most happy. 
  2. Understand contentment. Less is more. I understood that more money may not always make you happy. Choose the work that makes you happy without looking at the “price tag”.
  3. You will feel guilty but makeup in other areas. I took over most of the household chores and spent more time with my family.
  4. Do not let anyone tell you that it is wrong. Everyone has a different opinion about life and there is no right or wrong. 
  5. It is scary to make this decision but ride with it and don’t look back.
  6. Surround yourself with encouraging people, and kick negativity out the door.
  7. Always be happy. I realised being happy at what you do is the key. Life is too short, there is no time to waste on things that don’t make you happy.

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