I currently work as an engineer at a consultancy firm. At 18, I did a four year university course. I graduated at 22 then started a job two weeks later, where I stayed for four years. At 26, I left and started a new job, where I retrained and stayed for another four years. I just started my current job around 6 months ago. I currently hold a senior engineer position and I've just turned 30. At no point since leaving University have I ever had more than 3 weeks of work off.
My problem is, I feel completely over it. My passion and drive for something I loved enough to make it my career is gone. I have no energy, I'm tired and I just couldn't care less anymore. I desperately want to get out and a two week holiday isn't enough.
In my spare time, I'm a PADI Divemaster and I'm really considering taking a year out, putting my life here into storage and moving abroad to work in a dive centre. It would be doing something that I don't love as much, but that I know I can do without much mental energy - almost to try and give myself the headspace to fall back in love with engineering.
My problem is - if I take this career break and leave engineering for 12 months, will I be able to come back and get a job again? I'm so worried that I'd give it up for the "gap year" I never had and end up being seem as unemployable. I also don't want to ask for a sabbatical from my current job - I already know that the move here wasn't the right move for me so when I do come back, I wouldn't be looking to come back here.
Has anyone done something similar and come back to the career that they left? Or am I asking the impossible?
Can you apply for a sabbatical at your current place which will cover any gap.
Alternatively, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to take a year out and when you come back you’ll be refreshed and ready to hit it again. Any potential employer will ask and you can just sell it as ‘once in a life time opportunity’ which you couldn’t pass up, particularly as you’d progresses so quickly which demonstrates your ability to continue to do so.
Just read you don’t want to go back there. I haven’t ever come across anyone who is deemed unemployable after having a year out in your circumstances - you’re clearly competent and can demonstrate progression. I think you’ll be fine.
I would suggest looking into unusual and interesting ways to use your skills - you are an engineer, how about working overseas for a non profit? Or taking a position overseas? Ever considered the military even?