Life at Deloitte

Learning more by stepping away

A Deloitte professional weighs in on taking time away from work to pursue personal endeavors.

October 25, 2018

Professional growth and development are important to Dane Harrington, but early on in his career, he recognized that it doesn't have to come at the expense of achieving personal goals outside of work. Thanks in part to Deloitte’s support of individual well-being, Dane found a way to enhance his personal and professional life.

After wrapping up his senior year at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University armed with a degree in systems and industrial engineering, Dane dived head first into a career at Deloitte. Like many college graduates, his path to career satisfaction and success wasn't linear. Dane spent time on different projects and "bounced around various roles," before he found his passion for analytics and data visualization.

Off to Southeast Asia

After finding his calling for data science, Dane realized he didn’t have the core skills he needed to pursue this career path. He knew he needed to find a way to focus on learning these new skills, that’s when he looked into eligibility requirements for Deloitte’s Sabbatical Program and decided to take advantage of it.

“I decided I needed to take some time to develop my analytics toolbox. I found a variety of online analytics classes and pieced together a curriculum that worked for me,” said Dane. “I didn’t want this to be an experience where I only sat down and studied all day, so when my friend reached out about volunteering opportunities in Yangon, Myanmar I decided to combine efforts.”

Finding the time

Deciding to take an extended break from work and finding the time to do so can be challenging, especially considering various life events and responsibilities, but as Dane puts it, “there’s never a perfect time.” Dane recommends just taking that leap of faith and trusting that everything will work out when you come back.

Learning the foundations of data science was a goal I had for a while, and I found it difficult to find time on top of client service and other initiatives and life events. I don't think I'd ever had achieved this goal if Deloitte didn't give me this opportunity.

Much to gain

Taking time away can provide multiple benefits for both professionals and the organization. Professionals get the opportunity to use the time off to focus on personal goals, which in turn can help to enrich their careers. On top of the technical skills, Dane gained, while he studied abroad he was also deeply moved by the people he encountered in Myanmar. “I found the ability to work with people of different cultures to be a great learning experience. If I could work hand-in-hand with people that barely spoke the same language, maybe seeing eye-to-eye with a client that has a different opinion isn’t so hard,” shared Dane.

Highly recommended

Dane believes taking advantage of the benefits offered by Deloitte helped to enrich his life and created lasting memories. Once Dane returned to the States and resumed working full-time he immediately put his knowledge and experience gained to good use. Because he had carefully prepared for his time away and worked closely with his project team, principal, and managing director, he was able to step back into active work roles upon his return without impacting his career momentum. He even recently secured a promotion. Where possible, he recommends others to take advantage of similar opportunities.


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