There seems to be a myth that tells us if we spend a significant amount time away from work, away from a regular employed job, it will have long-term damaging consequences for our career.
I am here to say that I think the opposite is true. That this is a myth that serves the short-term interests of employers and keeps employees feeling trapped.
I have two experiences in taking career breaks. The first was when I walked away from my IT career for 4 years to pursue the creation of three small businesses. Not only did I have some of the best working experiences of my life during these 4 years, but when I came back to IT at the end of it I ended up being paid more than twice what I was paid before I left.
The second experience is right now, where I have taken 18 months of any type of paid work while I start some of my own ventures. I am about to go back to paid employment next week, and although I am not going to be earning the same kind of wage I was before I took this time off, I come to the job with a totally different perspective to work and know that the value I can offer is more than triple what I could have previously.
You are not stuck. You have options. They do not always seem obvious. They are not always easy. But in the end following your curiosity will be better for you and those you serve than staying where you are and following the rules.