Timothy Ferris first popularized the term "mini retirement" in his book The Four Hour Work Week. He suggests that people should periodically take long breaks from their career rather than aiming to retire at 65. This idea has been becoming more popular, especially with millennials. There is a new trend of changing jobs and careers at a rate that the generation above us didn't. With these times of transitions, often comes more opportunities to take time off.
The goal of a mini-retirement is not just about taking a long vacation, it's about having your adventure. And your adventure is just that - yours. You need to plan whatever you have always wanted to do, which can be different for everyone. This can also, surprisingly, be a very strong professional move.
A common struggle with choosing a career is the sense of not knowing what we truly want. People tend to know what we don't want, which can leave you feeling like you've lost control of your professional lives when you are not happy. But this uncertainty of what should come next stops one from pursuing the next opportunity. This is where a mini-retirement comes in. It can give you the opportunity to purse that perspective. By stepping away entirely, you can start to think about what really matters.
Walking away for months at a time does involve risks and few bosses will hold your position for months. The important thing to remember is that professional clarity will help you both professionally and personally. It is shown that when you find what fits, you are better at your job and even earn more.
"Remember a mini retirement is not a holiday where you just lie in a hammock all day. The goal of the experience is to upskill yourself and expand your knowledge base - even if it's painting or sailing or yoga that you're doing. All experiences that teach you new things are valuable, regardless of how closely related to your career they are," said Brendan Lee, author of Bren On The Road.
A mini-retirement is not about a long vacation, but about having the guts to go out and having your adventure - because everyone wishes they could. Words like "impractical" and "impossible" tend to get in the way. You would have accomplished something real and any interviewer would be impressed.
This is not a cheap endeavor. Life without work means a life without income. Try saving for 18 months before taking this leap, so you are financially stable. You can even consult a financial planner about what a realistic mini-retirement could look life for you. Then, start saving. It's worth it!