The higher up the corporate ladder one climbs, the more likely that work-life balance, personal time, and time dedicated to friends and family all fall to the wayside.
The pandemic upended this idea however, with a far greater focus on general wellbeing by decision takers and more junior staff alike. Indeed, many who found themselves between jobs as they are figuring out the next stage of their career and life paths opted to take some time away from work, to either rest or work on their self development.
This has been the case for David Galea, a seasoned consultant and manager who most recently served as Managing Director at Dubai-based Master Field Consultancy. Following two years in the role, his time at the company came to an end last May, but instead of seeking immediate employment, he took some time to recharge and focus on himself.
“For the first time in many years I decided to take time between jobs. Take time to myself and breathe,” he said.
Dr Galea added that the month that he has taken off has been a “fruitful one”, having travelled, bonded with his children, and also found space for some “long overdue catchups with friends”.
“But most of all there’s been ‘work’. Surprisingly so,” he continued.
“And yes, I’ve done some bits and bobs for contacts and connections, but the ‘work’ – and make no mistake, it is work – has been on me,” he said. These include some long overdue medical checkups, a new workout regime, pleasure reading, and personal development work, all vital part of his “mental prep for the challenge that lies ahead”.
“One of the more novel things for me was putting myself at the very top of the priority list. It’s not usual,” Dr Galea explained.
“We tend to identify with our jobs, our titles and our roles and let ourselves as individuals fall by the wayside. So this month has been super special in that regard,” he added. He also recommended taking such a career break to others, enabling them to take some time to work on themselves.
He said: “I hope to be better for it. I guess we’ll find out soon enough. But I do feel better than I did 30 odd days ago, and that’s already a big win!”
While this time away from work has proved fruitful to him, he is now eager for the “next challenge” as the “clock is ticking”.
Dr Galea holds a Doctor of Law (LLD) in Law and European Studies from University of Malta, together with a LLM in Maritime Law from University of Southampton. He is also qualified in strategic thinking and leadership for growth from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
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