How can I improve the chances of my manager letting me take a career break?

While you have a right to request time off (if your employer has more than 250 staff), your boss doesn’t have to grant your request. But you can certainly make it easier for them to say yes.

Before meeting your manager, make sure you know when you want to take your break and how long for, and how your workload could be managed while you’re away. In short, do the practical thinking for them.

Even more important, be clear about why you want to take a career break. Your boss may be more open to the idea than you think. Okay, so some employers may still frown upon staff “going off on a jolly”, but attitudes are changing as more and more of them realise that rewarding the loyalty of good employees with time off is often a good way to retain them. In fact, many staff return with renewed enthusiasm for their work.

Explain to them that what you are doing will be productive. Having a clear and positive purpose to your time off is vital, whether you intend to travel, have an experience living abroad, volunteer, spend more time with your family, learn new skills or gain qualifications.  This focus will help you demonstrate to your employer what long-term benefits you will bring to the organisation when you return (whether that’s new language skills, a professional qualification, a more rounded world view, etc.).