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The Right to Gap – A Parent’s Perspective

The right to gap
The right to gap
Summary. This is an insider’s perspective, we share with you the thoughts of a parent on the harsh reality of looking for jobs after taking a gap year to spend with the family. The evident unfairness of the corporate expectations on what a career path should look like and the hardship of reasoning with such system to build a sustainable contribution to society.

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The harsh reality

Why do most recruiters, agencies, and interviewers focus on time gaps in one’s CV? My guess is that companies want to know you were so dedicated to your career that you need the 12 months of the year filled in; that your career is your number one priority to fulfil your life purpose. A gap in your CV raises doubts about your life commitment and the integrity of your decision making. Therefore, if you have more than 3 months gap, you better have a good explanation, or rather a justification of your decision – regardless how brilliant you were on your last job. In fact, here in London, if you exceed the 3 months mark, some agencies will ask you to provide a contact (friend or acquaint) to advocate for you – for security checks purposes of course.

When I tell interviewers I had to take 9 months off ‘conventional work’ to care for my two neurodiverse children and enrich their learning experience while consistently fighting a system that pushes back on supporting kids on the autistic spectrum, I usually get a sympathy sentence followed by an awkward silence. Possibly because most people are not sure how to respond or they ask themselves: Is this good enough of a reason to recommend this candidate?


Lesson learnt

The truth is full time parenting is a unique experience for every individual. It is a substantial growth milestone, and is certainly rewarding at least from a learning perspective, despite the fact that you do not get paid or certified for putting the time and effort. I myself built up on numerous soft skills during my gap months including endurance, resiliency, negotiation, open-mindedness, care taking, and management of resources, time, expectations, and ultimately leadership. Truthfully, I learnt more than I ever did in some of my previous jobs. Therefore, in an attempt to break the tradition, I am officially listing these in my CV. The question to myself was should I add this valuable experience as?

  • Parenting internship
  • Parenting opportunity
  • Or Continuous ‘life’ learning

I am hoping that if more parents do this, one day we get less doors shut in our faces after a career gap year dedicated to our families. I hope we won’t be judged, ashamed, perceived as shortcoming, or have to even justify taking time to contribute our most precious care, time, and energy and attention resources to the next generation of society. But this would only work if everyone does it, it is the wisdom of the crowd that makes a difference and declare the gap year accepted and appreciated without our corporate careers monopolising our time or being entitled to the primary use of our resources. Remember as put in an article from the Harvard Business Review (on a totally different topic):


“Traditional stereotypes of career paths will collapse in face of workforce change.”


If you have a gap in your CV, read our top recommendations here on how to bridge it and maximise your chances to get a new job.

Disclaimer: The content of all our articles is protected by the Terms & Conditions policy. For license of content, please reach out to us directly, our information are on the contact us page.

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