The Gap Year: Taking time off can still lead to success

ohhh you guys knew this one was coming so don’t be too surprised!

Time to chat about the one subject parents can’t STAND, and that is the one and the only… GAP YEAR(s). Woo!

Listen, no matter how tempting, gap years don’t have to mean booking a one-way ticket to Bali to align your inner chakras, okay? I sure didn’t do that (cause hello, #muslimgirlproblems). lol jokes, anyway…

As much as I (and my parents) would have loved to see me traveling across the globe, obviously I stayed put. I remained productive, but the gap in my resume was all about ME. I’m the one who left my job with no backup; I’m the one who decided that I wanted better for myself and took the risk, forgoing comfort, a safety blanket, and well, a paycheck.

“Ugh, but you’re going to have a gap in your resume.” “You should have waited until you at least had another job lined up.” “What are you going to do now?” “Employers are going to think you did nothing for nine months.”

Only HALF the questions I was continuously asked while unemployed, as if having a job is the only measure of success nowadays.

Not that I’m trying to defend my time off, but whenever people would give me a look about having so much time off, I would just be honest. I was able to commit to hours of training a day when I joined Fight Camp at John Wai Martial Arts. I put myself through 8 weeks of intense physical and mental training and a whole new person evolved. You guys know my Fight Camp story, but I never would have done it before quitting my job. I also created my #GenerationZiz Instagram, (originally we were just out here on WordPress!) and connected with you all on a more personal level. I did travel a few times, as well as volunteered a lot with the Make-A-Wish organization. Personally, I just hate being bored so I constantly will find and throw myself into a project or something that challenges me!! Doing a bunch of things also helps you figure out what you really like to do!!

I was also constantly interviewing and looking for jobs, I wasn’t just letting go completely of course. Every time the employer would ask why I quit my job, I would just be honest. There was no other explanation. Honestly, majority of them would understand completely. However, I knew the people who understood me the most, were the interviews I had at Virgin Voyages. My current manager was present in my last interview, and pretty sure he thought I was crazy when I told him I had spent the last two months training like a fighter while looking for employment! But here I am! (Love ya, Nic!)

“But Aziza, you live with your parents.” Okay first of all back up, so do you. Second, yes, I live with my parents and save on rent, but there’s no way I’m going to be that kid that’s living in their home until I’m 30. (And they don’t want me to either). I want a career, I want to be passionate about my work, and by taking a few months off, I was able to really zone in on what I wanted to achieve.

You can use a gap year for yourself to figure things out, like I did. What you want, what’s right for you (if it’s even out there). I mentioned in a recent post that a lot of my generation struggle to find a job post-college and spend a good chunk of time just searching for a job- while dealing with family and societal pressures. Because again, we’re basing people’s success on the sole factor of having a job.

I was unemployed for about nine months, but whenever someone would ask me why I left, I just told the truth. I was unhappy, I commuted wayyy too far for a job that didn’t care about me, and to be honest, I never really gave myself a break after being in school and working so much. #treatyoself

Now, have to briefly mention (couldn’t help it), that people will call millennials “entitled” or say we don’t work for anything, but I don’t agree (in my strictly unbiased opinion, of course). We’ve seen our parents stay years in a job that’s frustrating and passionless, we’ve seen them slave away for our sake to keep a roof over our head and food at the table. But are they happy? They’re already so close to retirement, they assure us they’ll be “fine” until then.

Some thought questions for you: are we entitled? Or do we just want better? Wouldn’t you want the absolute best for yourself? Without waiting 50 years for it? Don’t our parents? I don’t think we are. You’re not entitled for waiting for a better job, or yet, finding the PERFECT job for you. Part of the reason for this blog is so that we can all help each other, regardless of generation or experience, become the best version of ourself.

My last thought is, it doesn’t even have to be a year. Maybe you just want some time for yourself, because your health and relationships are important too. If you are not sure or don’t think a gap year is for you, ask yourself these questions to somewhat help determine whether you need, and are actually entitled to, an actual frickin’ break:

  • Am I unhappy at my current place of employment? Is this even worth my time (commute, the people, your work environment overall)?
  • Can I afford a few months off? (Do you have an emergency savings, family to support you)?
  • Is my well-being and mental health being compromised by a company who doesn’t care?
  • Am I willing to make the sacrifices necessary to save? Work literally anywhere else?

Disclaimer: I did not tell you to quit your job in this article or to spend all your savings while on “gap.” 🙂 Anyway, there are of course a lot of other factors to weigh when deciding to take some time off, so please consider all your options. Some companies even offer sabbaticals, so if you don’t hate your job, but retirement is too far out, try asking your company leadership whether a few months off would be possible!

Thanks for reading, and let me know your thoughts about this topic in the comments. Always down to start a discussion!

One thought on “The Gap Year: Taking time off can still lead to success

Leave a Reply