What Happened in my Six Months IT Career Break?

I quit my job in January 2021 and decided to take a six months career break.

I have taken the break to develop habits that improve my mental & physical health.

So did any good happen out of six months?

Absolutely yes!

Here are the things I was able to do and continue doing.

  1. I read eight books (mostly on productivity & habits):- Nothing beats reading. It is like getting insights into years of experience in less than 5 hrs. Also, I started reading Biographies. I aim to finish 20 this year!
  2. I started Healthy eating. With few experiments, I found the right balance between tasty & healthy food. Also, I fast once in a while. I abused my body so much in the name of office parties, hangouts, tea breaks, stress eating, late-night dinners, etc. Eating has a big impact on your energy levels.
  3. I sleep early and get 8 hours of quality sleep. One thing I realized, 8 hrs in bed is not equal to 8 hrs of sleep. I use Oura ring to track my sleep. It shows many metrics to adjust your workouts and eating habits to get quality sleep.
  4. I journal every day. It is the best thing you can do first thing in the morning. It’s like talking to someone who knows you 100%. First few days, it felt really weird.
  5. I removed all social media apps from my phone except WhatsApp (Got removed from all the WhatsApp chat groups though). 99% of the messages shared groups doest not add any value to my life.
  6. I started practicing Minimalism (Got rid of things that did not add any value to my life) — Thanks to YouTuber Matt D’Avella. I have always been conscious about need vs want. But the concept of minimalism gave a different perspective.
  7. I stopped comparing myself with anyone else. This keeps me on track with improving myself instead of trying to be someone else. I did this by avoiding social media. Most of us don’t realize that we are comparing ourselves to others. It happens through social media. Always there is new tech, new approach, something new that always keeps you feeling like you are not enough.
  8. Workout is part of my lifestyle now. I don’t have to force myself to do it ( Mostly Jump Rope — it’s fun, and actively playing with my 3 yr old every single day). Nothing takes priority over this.
  9. I try to get 30 minutes of sun every day. It feels really good. I live in Bangalore, so there are days you don’t get to see sunlight.
  10. I drink tea/coffee without sugar. Overall, sugar consumption has drastically reduced. I used to drink 4 to 5 tea every day. I realized I was not addicted to tea, but I was addicted to sugar. Now I don’t have 2 tea per day. Somedays 3.
  11. I shaved my head often — I don’t know why but it felt good :D
  12. I did a digital detox and realized how technology and apps keep us busy and stressed all the time.
  13. I stopped updating my personal or family pics on social media. I don’t think it adds any value to my life or someone’s life.
  14. I kept my tech writing/learning going and helped many people over phone sessions sharing my work experience and still helping. This keeps me updated with all the latest industry trends in my field of work.
  15. Since I was not working for anyone, I felt this true freedom of organizing and categorizing my work based on my schedules. Moreover, it made me realize how much important is financial freedom and time freedom.
  16. I tried to be in the present and still trying without thinking much about the past or future- The book “Power of now” helped me get into that path. Also, it’s not easy as it sounds. Being in the present moment is very difficult.

Not every day was perfect as on the list. There were days I was lazy; I over-ate, binge-watched series, skipped reading & workouts, had family health issues, etc. But it’s part of life! You cannot be 100% perfect in anything. At least not me!

You might ask, hey Bibin, we can do the same things with a 9–5 job as well. Yes definitely. But it’s the choice I took to have 100% freedom. Also, I am a tech blogger, and I constantly update myself with technology. So I don’t have the fear of missing out on learning.

Few things did not work out as I planned. The reason is I had hard time limits (11- 5 pm) on the time I spent in front of the computer. So I did not push myself because it would beat the purpose of being on a break.

Following are the things that did not work out as planned.

  1. Creating video content — I could create only a few videos.
  2. I could not publish the tech articles which I planned. But my learning was more and focused as compared to my day job.
  3. Document my six months of learning in blogs — I did 30 days of writing challenge, but I could not keep up with documenting my learnings on my personal blog.
  4. Cycling: I did cycling for 15 days, and then I could not go out much due to the covid situation.
  5. Meditation: I tried for few days, I couldn’t do it. But not going to give up.

How did I manage my finances?

Over the course of 10 years, I have made several investments and side hustles that bring a decent amount of passive income to my table every month (Real estate, digital assets, etc). I worked really hard including Saturdays and Sundays.

So finances was not a big worry, just that, I lose a good income through my salary. That’s the tradeoff-

What are my suggestions for someone who wants to take a break?

  1. Don’t ask for suggestions from people who have never taken a break.
  2. You should not care about what others think.
  3. A second source of income that pays your bills. If you are married and have children, you should have minimum savings for the next 36 months to lead a life without any income.
  4. Good health insurance for the whole family.
  5. A debt-free situation or if you have debts, it should get paid by your passive income. You should not rely on savings to pay of the debt.
  6. A platform to continue your field of work that keeps you updated with industry trends. Blogging, videos, etc.
  7. You should have the attitude to get back and work hard again if you fall flat on your face. (Example, not getting a job after the break)

So, what next?

I am extending my break to another six months.

But this time, I will work on tech stuff, in the same way, I usually work for another company ( 8–10 hrs) per day, just that I won’t get paid :)

Also, a big thanks to folks who remembered and contacted me after 6 months and offered me jobs. I really appreciate it!

DevOps Practioner & Blogger at www.devopscube.com