17 May 2022, by Patrina Tan
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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”.
- You will feel guilty but makeup in other areas. I took over most of the household chores and spent more time with my family.
- Do not let anyone tell you that it is wrong. Everyone has a different opinion about life and there is no right or wrong.
- It is scary to make this decision but ride with it and don’t look back.
- Surround yourself with encouraging people, and kick negativity out the door.
- 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.