There's a long history but in brief: I worked at (non-career-type) jobs for about 10 years, earning minimum wage or a little over that, contributing to our household with my partner who was much more "entrepreneurial" than I am, and she actively enjoyed working, but most of that time she was just working for other employers as well (but earning significantly more than I was due to a combination of education/interview skills/general aptitude for the workplace).

About 7 years ago it became clear that we were in a financial place where she was earning 90% of the household income and started out independently with her own business, with increasing success (compared to working for an employer). We jointly made the decision that I would resign from my job (which I did, and was relieved to do so!) and for those years she worked at the business and I got a lot of "leisure" time to work on my own projects (which don't translate into marketable skills) and just take it easy as a "kept" partner. (We don't have children) I did take on most of the responsibility for the housework but as a couple without children and with my partner out of the house most of the day, there wasn't much that needed doing -- maybe an hour a day.

This month the situation has changed dramatically and I won't go into the details but in brief: now I need to go back into the workplace and presumably start at the beginning, and get a job doing whatever I can do.

Truth be told... I don't want to go back to work. I'm resentful. I can't speak about why I'm "passionate" about this or that job, or why I really want to get into this role, because the truth is.. I don't want to, but now I need the money. I have been out of the workplace for 7 years and have no real achievements to show in that time (I didn't take time out to develop my skills, work for myself, or whatever... it's just that I didn't need to work any more!) -- When I resigned 7 years ago it was like I was retiring, but not old enough to claim a pension just yet.

How can I present 7 years of (ostensibly) a "life of leisure", being a "kept man/woman" on a cover letter, resume etc -- and how can I get across any kind of enthusiasm of "I really want this role because..." to an employer when the truth is I didn't need to work, I didn't want to work, but now I do need to (but resent it) and it's just a means to an end?! Especially as "why did you leave your last employer" isn't a rosy tale. My honest answer is "I couldn't take it any more as it was doing a number on my mental health, and I realized I didn't need to".

Edit in reply to comment: I was working in factory and warehouse type jobs previously, and that's probably the same type of work I need to pursue now.

  • 1
    Outside of the specifics of the 7-year gap, do you think that there are unique features of your situation that impact answering interview-style questions? There exists advice for expressing interest in a potential job, but the truth is that most people don't work because they're so passionate about some field but rather because they have to-- very much like yourself now. Is the focus of your question the gap, specifically, or expressing enthusiasm and motivation you don't necessarily feel about potential jobs?
    – Upper_Case
    Jul 18, 2019 at 21:21
  • @Upper_Case The 'unique' feature of this situation is that the gap wasn't due to (e.g) the depressed employment market, medical issues, caring for a family member with medical issues, time out of the country due to being unable to work because of immigration rules, or whatever. I could have been working all this time, but I hated work, got very stressed out by it and then I didn't need to any more and could afford to "take it easy"! My focus is how to present "now I need a job because economic necessity" though I was maybe a 'bum' before.
    – user107037
    Jul 18, 2019 at 21:28
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    That doesn't answer my question. The gap is clearly its own issue, which obviously impacts this question. But, as I said, most people work out of need rather than passion, and have to express enthusiasm for jobs they might prefer not to have to do. Employment gaps exist for all kinds of reasons. What I'm asking is if your core question here is how to explain the gap/returning to work or how to express enthusiasm for work when you'd rather not be working. They're related, and answers exist for both, but they aren't the same question.
    – Upper_Case
    Jul 18, 2019 at 21:34
  • @Upper_Case My question is something like "how to explain the gap", but more like "how to explain that I now need to go back to work even though I don't want to" (with implied questions like: so when you don't need this job anymore will you just leave again?). So it's sort of a hybrid of both, but probably more the first one.
    – user107037
    Jul 18, 2019 at 21:39
  • Have you considered homecare? Either in a care home or domiciliary home care (visiting vulnerable adults in their own home). Lots of parents become home carers so a career break wouldn't even be too unusual. If you have a clean criminal record and at least semi-respectable appearance then it can be very easy to find this kind of work, regardless of background. It is hard work and poorly rewarded but so is factory work. Jul 18, 2019 at 22:45

2 Answers 2


This is not something that belongs in a resume at all. When you list your jobs in the traditional reverse-chronological order, it will be obvious that you last worked 7 years ago. Just leave it at that.

In your cover letter and in your interview conversations, just be honest. You didn't need to work, so you chose not to. Now things have changed and you do need to work, so that's why you are getting back into the job market. You don't need to go into any detail in your cover letter, but may need to say more during interviews. Your cover letter should basically say "I've been out of the workforce for a while, but now I'm ready to get back in."

You haven't shared the reason why you need to work here, but you may want to think hard about what you will say in an interview when pressed. Interviewers won't be very concerned about the details. They just want reassurance that your sudden change isn't temporary, and that you'll quickly go back to not-working status. Find a truthful way to communicate that.

There's no need to be evasive. The kinds of factory and warehouse jobs you will be seeking care far more if you will show up and do the work each day, than about whatever it is you did the past 7 years. You don't have to convince them that you will love your job - just that you will work hard at it.

You might also consider starting off with temp jobs. Those jobs tend to be easier to get, nobody expects you to stay in them for a long time, and they can build a record of successful work. Many folks who are out of the job market for a long time (for any reason) find that path works.

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    People like honesty. Jul 18, 2019 at 22:40
  1. People take time off of work. It isn't the most common thing, but it happens. If you'd like to address it on your resume, I would list the time as a self-imposed sabbatical.
  2. It may be best to address this in a cover letter. You might try something like: "My financial situation has made it so that I haven't had to have a regular paycheck for the last seven years, so I've been enjoying working on some personal projects. At this time, I have decided to re-start my career... " (You might be deciding to re-enter the workforce now because it's a necessity, but you are still deciding to do so.)
  3. Your situation is perhaps not as different from the rest of the world as you think: most people do not work for pleasure. Truth be told, perhaps the majority of people in the workforce would not work if they did not need to. My recommendation is that you find the most desirable jobs you are arguably qualified for and market yourself for it as best you can.
  4. Since you are re-entering the workforce, if financially possible, take the time to evaluate jobs you might enjoy more than factory / warehouse jobs, provided they exist.

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