I once read that after 7 years in prison, sociologists doubt you can be reintegrated into society (but then Nelson Mandela was in prison for 26 years…). I guess that at one point of time, it will be difficult to work 40 hours per week in a corporate context if you have not done so for years.
How long is this period? I do not know. And in my opinion, this is not the right question to ask:
Time off during a life time career is OK and becomes more and more common. And even when you are out of job for 2 years or more, you are not alone. But the reason must be a good one if you want your candidacy to be retained. Did you do a full time MBA, look after a sick family member or sit at home and watch TV? It can happen to all of us to be out of work tomorrow, the question is how do you justify this period?
- One of certainly the best things to do is to do further education and there are courses that are not expensive, even free. You can broaden your technical skills, management techniques or learn a new language.
- An alternative to working on a full time basis is a assignment as a (freelance) consultant, both full or half time. Making a business plan for your brother in law’s tattoo shop, preparing the tax returns for a friend or investigating in depth the launch of an own business is an occupation too – and better than nothing.
- Did you take a year off to do something completely different? I headhunted a candidate two weeks ago who responded “no, thanks, I am off for one year to travel around the world“. And a friend of mine is doing a “Tour de France” – by foot! Some hiring managers will disagree but I like it!
- Also a baby-break is a good reason too (someone has to pay our retirement after all)
Even though looking for a new job can be a full time job in itself, at one point of time (after 6 months?) you have to put something meaningful on your resume that shows that you look after your career and yourself in a responsible way. Impress us and the fact of being out of work can have a positive impact and show superior motivation, tenacity, commitment and stamina