UK Education secretary Justine Greening admitted this week that she was once turned down for a job in banking because she hadn't taken a gap year.
Which seems baffling, no? Let's investigate...
Whether it's a six-month backpacking trip around the world after receiving A level results, a bar job in Australia while you decide what to do with your life post-university, or a once-in-a-lifetime holiday between jobs, a 'gap year' provides the perfect opportunity to take time out of the monotony of daily life and broaden your knowledge of the world – and yourself.
However, is it a wise choice when it comes to career progression?
First and foremost, whether you choose to take a gap year or not, it's an entirely personal decision, depending on matters far greater than the whim to pack a bag and jet off the next outbound flight to Aruba.
Financial, relationship and career responsibilities all factor into the ability to set off on an adventure or hit 'pause' on life for several months.
Those who do will be well-accustomed to the months foregoing Saturday nights out, mini-breaks with friends and new wardrobe purchases in order to fund their travels.
As a result, many return with dream-like stories about adventures to the furthest reaches of South East Asia, late-night swims in Byron Bay with fellow travelers and sunrise hikes to the top of Balinese volcanoes.
For others, a gap year remains just that – a dream – with many worrying whether a year on the road might suggest a lack of career ambition to a future employer, will waste valuable time away from the career ladder or is, let's face it, will be financially impossible in times of crippling student loan debts and rising house prices.
But, could the decision not to take a gap year actually have a detrimental affect on your career goals?
Speaking at the launch of her new social mobility strategy, Education secretary Justine Greening recalled an interview at the former merchant bank, Barings Bank, when she was allegedly told she wasn't suitable for the job because she hadn't travelled enough.
At the time, she felt 'too embarrassed to admit that I simply couldn't afford one' and now hopes businesses will stop favouring job applications who had the luxury of taking a gap year.
In light of Greening's comments, we asked the ELLE team to reveal whether they found their decision to take a gap year or not helped or hindered their careers: