Right now, I am working towards a BS in physics and applied math, and I have been planning on applying for physics PhD programs next year. However, I would really like to have some time away from academia. I think employment would help secure my finances, better allow me to develop my personal life, help me realize whether or not I REALLY want to do graduate work, and give me a break from 17 straight years of schooling. Right now, my interests mostly lie within the field of condensed matter, so the type of work I had in mind would be some kind of engineering-like position with a company that works in a related area. The disadvantages I can think of: 1. Should I later decide to attend graduate school, I would have to study most of the material months ahead of time and more diligently/thoroughly than if I were to test and apply this coming Fall. The material would be much less fresh in my mind. 2. Getting the type of employment I want could be difficult 3. Time-wise, having plans on attending graduate school could limit my employment/career advancement options 4. After the application period has passed, I could change my mind and be out of luck. And surely there are other things I haven't considered. So my question for you is: by seeking employment, how would I be limiting myself?