But what about people who aren’t in a cubicle? What about those who already lead charmed lives that, frankly, turn the rest of us a delicate shade of pea-green?
Naturally, it depends who they are, and what they want out of a gap year.
Another career breaks website recommends you “think about what effect you want your career break to have on your career. Do you want to develop your teamwork ability, or leadership skills?” It lists ideas that will have a “positive professional impact”, such as volunteering in an orphanage, or participating” in a community development project teaching your professional skill to underprivileged people”.
The Princes William and Harry obviously took this advice to heart, and picked activities that would further their careers of following in their parents’ footsteps. Prince William volunteered in Chile with Raleigh International during his gap year, while Prince Harry worked on a cattle farm in Australia and with orphaned children in Lesotho. Similarly electing to follow her own parents’ chosen paths, their cousin Princess Eugenie furthered her career by sunbathing on the Goan Coast and slumming it in Mumbai’s five-star Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.
Nevertheless, I think we can agree that the purpose of a career break is to do something out of the ordinary. Something that you would not otherwise do, and something that will further your professional life when you come back.
With that in mind, I have some individualized suggestions for various celebs, should they decide their present ways of life lack meaning.
Snooki: Star of Jersey Shore, and now a devoted mother-to-be. Once she has birthed Little Pumpkin, though, Snooki might find it hard to remember that she was once the bestselling author of three books. (That old saying about leaving half your brain cells in the maternity ward is unfortunately true.) So a stint of being Writer-in-Residence at Princeton University might be just what the doctor ordered. What better way for Princeton to support the state of New Jersey than to select a successful home-grown author?
Russell Brand: A bit of an unknown on the west side of the Pond until he married singer Katy Perry, Brand is again single after he filed for divorce at Christmas. Once a hard-partying bachelor and self-confessed sex addict, Brand is said to have disapproved of his wife’s party animal lifestyle. For him, I suggest a stint in a monastery, or failing that, in an ironware factory painting the bases of pots and kettles with black paint.
The Kardashian clan: A complete retreat, for everyone’s mental wellbeing, far away from the reaches of paparazzi, TV, and Twitter. However, until the Virgin Galactic program becomes more adventurous and has destinations further afield — like Saturn or Alpha Centauri, for example — this will remain merely a pleasant fantasy.
Gwyneth Paltrow:No, I like Gwyneth, really. She was great in Shakespeare in Love. I just wish she’d stop pretending to be ordinary when she isn’t. Reading her blog on how to be a regular working mum is like reading a Google translation of a Martian website, she’s so much on another planet. Her credibility as Ordinary Mum would be greatly enhanced if she did something…well, ordinary. As she lives in England, where in summer every third vehicle is pulling a mobile dwelling, and her English husband’s parents made their fortune out of selling caravans, Gwyneth should raise her Ordinary profile by spending some time going back to hubby’s roots. Might I suggest a few weeks on a stationary camp site — this one near Clacton offers an 8-berth caravan from £171 per week, so plenty of room for hubby and two kids, plus a hair stylist if she’s desperate.
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