Dear Evil HR Lady,
Why is a gap in work history such a big deal? Why do applicants have to list volunteering, education, commercial attempts to account for what they were doing? So long as they weren’t in jail, having mental therapy, or engaged in some illegal activity, what’s wrong with taking off a couple of years (after a quarter-century of working 110%) and sitting by the beach contemplating life? When I was working, my co-workers and myself had to feign a “laid-back” attitude. Everyone had a driving sense of urgency; that was a given. We worked hard to do the job and (sometimes) harder to hide the sense of urgency. Yet I have always heard from HR that gaps in employment are a “red flag.”
A red flag is not a brick wall. It’s just something that jumps out to say, “ask more questions about this.” In my experience, periods of unemployment ususally have good explanations–I got laid off, had a baby, moved with my spouse, my mother was ill and I needed to take care of her. It’s that the ones with bad explanations can be really bad–I was in jail, repeatedly got fired so I just gave up for a while, I was too busy stalking someone to work.
I don’t know why you had to feign a “laid back” attitude in your previous job. But, I don’t see your explanation of “after giving it 110% for 25 years, I decided to spend 6 months relaxing” as a bad thing. Just something that needs explaining.