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Career break - please advice!

#1 Career break - please advice!
24/08/2009 14:53

Need a change

I have just completed my first year as a grad(also completed my masters) at a big consulting firm. Over the past few months, I have realised that I do not want to be in consulting in the long run, but in spite of that, decided to hang on for another year or two until the economic climate started improving so that I could land a good job in industry.

But now, I am not too sure about how staying on in consulting is going to help me, since I have lost almost all motivation to continue. Thats when a brilliant idea (well, need your advice!) struck me - take a career break for 6-12 months and return to the job market depending on how it goes.

The issue then is money - very low savings but if I take a career break, I will be going back to my country (one of the fastest developing nations) where things are cheap unlike in London. I have contacts in two small start-ups (currently less than 6 months old) in my hometown - one a construction management company planning a kick off project in a year and the second, a telecom value add -VOIP and e-commerce business. Both the start-ups are willing to have me on-board as one of the main "directors/managers" at a low pay. I need the pay for my basic needs but the reason I am interested in doing something like this is because I believe I can get a different level of experience by being involved in two start-ups in two different industries in a developing nation.

Am I expecting too much here? Will 6 months -12 months of such experience be useful in the long run or will employers take this negatively? Obviously, if any of the two start-ups turn out to be extremely successful, I may stay on, but else I am planning to return to the UK after a year.

Any sort of advice/guidance will be greatly received.

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#2 RE: Career break - please advice!
24/08/2009 15:01

Anon to Need a change (#1)

I know how you feel. Just 1 month in one of the big consulting firms can feel like an eternity.

I guess it all depends on how much you need the money?

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#3 RE: Career break - please advice!
24/08/2009 15:10

Mars A Day to Need a change (#1)

What a refreshing attitude. I like it.

I cannot see why experience gained within either start up would not be considered useful (depending on what you are doing of course), and if you can demonstrate you have added value then great - it'll certainly differentiate you. You will find yourself explaining, ad nauseum, exactly why you chose to leave consulting after just 1 year, so get ready for that -but the fact you want to leave and have a plan for why, and what to do instead, will assure most hiring managers that the move was considered and thought through.

I would pull you up the assumption that your consulting experience, limited as it is, will be an automatic route to land a good job in industry; the nature of your first years in consultancy is such that you will be gaining very little applicable experience - effectively you'll be going into industry from zero, i.e. as a grad entry unless you can gain something significant to add in either of these start ups. At 2 years post grad experience you will be on the limits of realistically getting on to a grad scheme again (although this does vary by company).

I like your attitude - do something interesting rather than just chase the immediate payday, but think through what your options will actually be 1 year on.

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#4 RE: Career break - please advice!
24/08/2009 19:15

anon to Mars A Day (#3)

Great idea! go for it.. entrepreneurship experience will be well received!

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#5 RE: Career break - please advice!
24/08/2009 21:13

sm to anon (#4)

Yep, agree, go for it, what's the worst that can happen? You'll have a great time and learn a hell of a lot. Agree with Mars though you'll have to explain it over and over in every interview afterwards but it'll be worth it

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#6 RE: Career break - please advice!
25/08/2009 08:55

m to sm (#5)

But wont it be an issue for you when all your current batchmates and fellow analysts are higher up in the ranks in 2 years , and you have to start from scratch again?

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#7 RE: Career break - please advice!
25/08/2009 08:59

original poster to m (#6)

Thats my only concern at the moment, to be honest. Not worried about getting a low salary/no salary for a year but having to start from scratch ,if I return, is going to be a pain!

I was also thinking of doing some studies during the year - like becoming CIMA part qualified, to better my chances of not having to start at the bottom.

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#8 RE: Career break - please advice!
25/08/2009 09:46

sm to original poster (#7)

If you have already lost all motivation, it's unlikely you'll be able to re-motivate yourself to stick around for another two years to keep up with your peers. And even if you did stick around, would you really want to?

Life is not a rehearsal, you only get this one shot so go and do something that you'll be proud of when you're my age.. (actually not that much older but you know what I mean).

The accumulated future regret of not doing it will always outweigh the damage to your selfworth by staying where you are.

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#9 RE: Career break - please advice!
25/08/2009 09:59

anon to sm (#8)

sounds like a great opportunity, go for it.

What was the masters in out of interest?

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#10 RE: Career break - please advice!
25/08/2009 11:56

original poster to anon (#9)

Thanks all...need to do some serious thinking.

@anon - masters in management(not MBA) specialising in finance and ops

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#11 RE: Career break - please advice!
25/08/2009 15:56

manager to original poster (#10)

I wish I had contacts in businesses at such an early stage, would have jumped on to such opportunities.

P.S - i do have enough savings to keep me safe for a year, even if things go terribly wrong

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#12 RE: Career break - please advice!
26/08/2009 14:20

aah to manager (#11)

I would have loved to be in your position, go for it! As others have already stated, you have nothing to lose but lots to gain and this is the age to experiment..Good Luck

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#13 Career break - please advice!
03/09/2009 17:58

Rose Evans to aah (#12)

GO FOR IT...I agree with the post that life is not a rehersal I set up the sales function for an SAP reseller in Australia back in 2003 - It was great fun and brilliant experience I was offered Oz residency although decided to come home as UK is home for me, in fact it was one of my Oz customers who helped me decide that I wanted to return to my roots by making the statement 'life is not a rehersal'

GOOD luck in all your endeavours - Its not the getting there (where ever 'there' is to you) its enjoying the journey that counts.

Best wishes

Rose Evans

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