How to take a career break

In 2016, Seattle’s Jamie Clark was a software engineer planning to take a year off work to finish a master’s degree in computational linguistics. One year turned into three and a career change in financial planning.

Nowadays, Clark, who uses their pronouns, believes the experience makes them a better advisor, especially since their career hiatus didn’t turn out as originally planned.

“Part of our job as financial planners is to help people be prepared,” says Clark, now a certified financial planner who recently launched her own company, Ruby Pebble Financial Planning. “And I want to help people build that flexibility.”

Career breaks are extended and usually unpaid time off work. Such breaks can be ambitious: giving yourself time to travel, earn a degree, change careers, or start a business. Or they may be prompted by life events, such as caring for a baby, breastfeeding a family member, or dealing with an illness or breakdown.

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